It’s the penultimate event of what has been a fantastic 2013 season on the European Tour. This week we are coming to a really interesting course, The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya Turkey. After only opening in 2008, this course has been talked about a lot in the build-up to this, it seems Colin has had more success with this than he did in his strive for a major… The likes of Woods, Rose and Stenson are all here, so we are going to be in for a great few days.
With this being the first ever Turkish Open, it obviously leaves us without any course form to go on. But after studying what it is all about, we are confident at who will do well around here. The fairways will be tight and the majority tree-lined, whilst the players will have to carry quite a bit of yardage on a few holes just to even reach them! So there will be some daunting tee shots out there and we need players who are consistent off the tee. With it being a tricky little 7,093 yard par 72, accurate iron-play is going to be key also. These are the sort of courses that really do sort the men from the boys when hitting from the fairway. And with 8 lakes scattered across the course, there will be quite a few hazards to avoid too. This type of track will certainly take the fancy of a few people out there.
Martin Kaymer (16/1 Paddy Power)
We don’t often go outright on many people, but we can’t help but have a lot of confidence in the German this week. It is safe to say he is nearly back to the kind of form that saw him win a major three years ago. He didn’t really challenge last week in Shanghai but we can tell you he was VERY impressive. Not to mention he shot the course record on day three and carried that form onto day four.
This is the sort of course he could really thrive on because his iron-play is nothing short of sensational ‘on his day’. His recent form is T8 last week, 13th, 13th and then 7th at the Alfred Dunhill Links. That is consistent and it is what the German has been lacking for the past couple of years. If you did not witness his play last week, take our word that Kaymer will feature heavily this week.
Francesco Molinari (40/1 Various)
Not perhaps as extreme as Kaymer, but Molinari had drifted off the radar over the last year or so. And just like the German, he has been getting very close to his best over recent weeks and looks like he will get win number 4 on the European Tour sometime soon. His putting has been particularly impressive and when the Italian putts well, he is a threat. Not only this, but he is regarded as one of the best in the game with his irons. That Italian flair around the Montgomerie course will take him a long way.
He played consistent last week at the WGC without ever contending but got his fourth top 20 in a row, including a highly impressive 2nd place at the BMW Masters a couple of weeks back. At 40/1 we see great value and he could be in for a good week.
Bernd Wiesberger (35/1 Paddy Power)
There hasn’t been many stronger third picks than the Austrian in our time of doing previews on the European Tour if we are honest. He is one of our favourite players on the tour and it is quite stunning he hasn’t won in 2013. His game has been in good shape all year but his suspect putting at times has prevented him from adding to his first two wins in 2012.
Just like the previous two, his iron-play will be perfectly suited to this course and he is one of the best drivers in the game. He will not be worried by the menacing tee shots out there. His form like we say has been steady all year and his last six performances have been 17, 3, 12, 23, MC and 4th. So he really has been knocking on the door. The only thing that could let him down is his putting, but if he gets his tail up, the putts will start dropping.
Pablo Larrazabal (50/1 Various)
The Spaniard is another of our favourites we have to hold our hands up. But quite honestly there is no better in Europe with an iron when his head is in the right place. His attacking style is a joy to watch and that approach should take him a long way in Turkey. Just like Wiesberger, he has been knocking on the door all the way through 2013 picking up 8 top 10’s in the process.
After a slight dip in form a couple of months back he has stamped his authority back on the tour once more with his last four finishes being 5, 8, 17 and 9th! He is very much a player who thrives off consistency and when he is swinging like he is now, anything is possible. He will be a popular choice this week.
Richard Sterne (80/1 Coral)
Sterne bagged us our first win of the year at the Joburg Open, so it would be very fitting if he finished our 2013 season off with another. Since his 2nd at the Open De France he has still been consistent but not perhaps challenging as much as he would like. And last week at the WGC, his fourth round of 63 will have gone unnoticed by many. It would have been a joint course record, before Kaymer smashed it the day before with a 62. Of course he could swing without worries after being +5 for three days but even so, that round gives both he and us great confidence coming to Turkey.
Sterne is just a solid performer who definitely has the ability to take a major one day. His iron play and incredible accuracy off the tee will make the South African one to look out for. At 80/1 as well, you cannot go wrong!