By News Team
Last Updated: 6th November 2019
We might be coming to the end of the year, but the golfing calendar shows no signs of slowing down with three Rolex Series events in three consecutive weeks bringing a curtain down on the European Tour season. First up is the Turkish Airlines Open from the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Antalya and here is our rundown of the best bets ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
Market leader Rose looks one to swerve
Given he is the highest-ranked golfer in the field and is looking to win the event for a third year in a row, it’s no surprise to see Justin Rose as the 15/2 favourite here. The Englishman finished in a tie for 15th in Italy on his penultimate start where a closing 64 was the highlight of an indifferent week, but he would have hoped for better fortunes at the WGC HSBC Champions last week. He won the event in 2017 and finished third last year, so expectations would have been high, but a low-key tie for 28th wasn’t much to write home about. More alarmingly, he hasn’t won since the Farmers Insurance Open back in January and claimed his two titles in this event at a different venue.
He did finish third here in 2013, but must surely be frustrated at the venue change. So, he looks well worth taking on.
Time looks right for Hatton to win again
Given Tyrrell Hatton hasn’t won since October 2017, many might argue that the 16/1 on offer this week looks a pretty short price. However, there are a number of reasons to suggest the 28-year-old is ready to win his fourth European Tour title in Turkey. Looking at the two times the event has been played at this course, the winning score was 24 and 22 under par, signifying a birdie-fest and that will surely be music to the ears of Hatton.
His three victories on the tour have been with scores of 23, 24 and 21 under par, meaning he is most at home when birdies, as opposed to pars, are the order of the day. His recent form is encouraging too – four top-20 finishes in succession, including last week in China where he closed with a sizzling Sunday 65. He made 23 birdies at Sheshan showing the game is clearly firing on all cylinders and the fact he led the field in strokes-gained on approach suggests he’s going to have more than his fair share of looks at birdie.
Hatton also leads the overall strokes-gained on approach this season and if he can get the putter firing, he must go very close to returning to the winner’s circle. He was 19th here as a tour rookie five years ago, so has form at the course and he looks a cracking bet at 16/1.
Bezuidenhout could go well after Italian absence
No course form and a withdrawal in Italy last month are not exactly reasons to back someone, but Christiaan Bezuidenhout is fast becoming a player to be reckoned with. He was a very impressive winner at Valderrama earlier this year and was third at Wentworth – both tree-lined courses like the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, so he looks to have a game well-suited for this venue.
He was fifth in putting average in China last week, which backs up the point he is a superb putter (10th for average putts per round on the European Tour) and given it’s likely to be a birdie-fest in Turkey a hot putter is going to be very important.
Twelfth in the Race To Dubai standings is testament to the season he has had so far and he looks a fair price at 35/1 to secure a second win of the campaign.