The 2017 European Tour Season starts its 3-2-1 countdown to its finale this week, as the tour heads to Turkey for the fifth renewal of the Turkish Airlines Open. However, it is only the second occasion that the event has been staged at Regnum Carya Golf Resort in Antalya, after it was first held here in 2016.
Last year’s event was notable for the absence of many leading players due to Turkey being perceived as a danger zone at the time. The danger levels may have subsided since, but this year’s tournament is still missing many of the top-10 players in the Race To Dubai Standings, including Sergio Garcia, John Rahm, Ross Fisher, Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari and Rory McIlroy.
Current Race To Dubai number-one Tommy Fleetwood is here though, but the Englishman hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks, and Race To Dubai number-three Justin Rose will be looking to close the gap again this week after victory in China last week. Rose certainly has the class to win, as has Henrik Stenson, but both will need their putters to be red-hot this week with the winning total expected to be around 18-20 under par.
Tyrell Hatton is difficult to leave out this week, as he finished tenth here last year despite starting with a round of 72 on this par-71 layout. Much more consistent now, a win here would give him a chance of catching Tommy Fleetwood in the Race To Dubai and, more importantly, extend his lead at the top of the European 2018 Ryder Cup Standings.
Two players who outperformed Hatton here last year in finishing second and fifth were Li Haotong and George Coetzee, and both did so having played very averagely in the run up to the tournament. However, Haotong has already proven he is a horses-for-courses kind of golfer, and the improving youngster could have been underestimated this week by the bookies. Meanwhile, Coetzee arrives here in much better form this year after recording three top-7s in his last five events, whilst he turned-up last year with form figures of 97/31/40. He also managed to finish fifth here last year after a second round 73, and four good rounds should see the inform South African near the top of the leaderboard.
The fourth and final player in this week’s portfolio is David Horsey, who put together four solid rounds last year on his way to tying for second around a course that looks tailormade for him, and he was in good form when last seen when closing with a final round 64 to take sixth at the Italian Open.
2017 Turkish Airlines Open Tips
Tyrell Hatton. 2 Points Each-Way @ 12/1 Paddy Power (pays 6 places)
Li Haotong. 1 Point Each-Way @ 60/1 Bet365 (pays 5 places)
George Coetzee. 1 Point Each-Way @ 28/1 Betfair (pays 6 places)
David Horsey. 1 Point Each-Way @ 50/1 Unibet (pays 5 places)