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European Tour Preview: Turkish Airlines Open

Preview – European Tour – Turkish Airlines Open – The Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club– Antalya, Turkey –

The European Tour hosts the Turkish Airlines Open this week at Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club in Turkey.

It marks the third of the four-tournament Final Series in the Race to Dubai, which wraps up next week at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Rory McIlroy tops the standings, but is not playing this week.

The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, a Colin Montgomerie-designed layout, reminds some players of Pinehurst with its sloppy greens.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 4, with neither McIlroy, Adam Scott nor Bubba Watson competing here. Henrik Stenson, who logged a Top 10 here last year, is expected to tee off Thursday. At 6th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he is among the favorites this week along with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer. All three were European Ryder Cup participants in the team victory in September.

Victor Dubuisson, also a member of that Ryder Cup squad, returns to defend his title, along with 2013 runner-up Jamie Donaldson. Absent this week is Tiger Woods, who finished T-3 last year. Woods is still recovering from back surgery in March. He is expected to return to action next month.

Dubuisson enters this week after a difficult one in China at the WGC-HSBC Champions where he opened with 76 and withdrew. He is coming off a runner-up at the Perth International and competed deep into the weekend at the Volvo World Match Play in October.

2013 Results:

  • Dubuisson (24-under) used a third-round 63 to set the weekend pace and held on to a two-shot victory over Donaldson. Rose and Woods finished T-3 at 20-under, while Ian Poulter was part of a tie for 5th place. Stenson and Bernd Wiesberger ended up with Top 10 finishes.

FANTASY:  Poulter and Stenson have played well here along with Rose. Poulter threatened the top of the leader board last week for most of the tournament. Garcia nearly won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and is due for a solid week. For Stenson, he followed up a third-round 81 at the HSBC with a final-round 65. Poulter is a solid selection and appears to coming into form. He was three back last week at the HSBC (T-6) and ended up T-5 here last year. Nicolas Colsaerts seems to be re-emerging. His game featured a runner-up at the Portugal Masters in early October.

BETTORS: Stenson, Kaymer and Garcia are all co-betting favorites at 12-to-1 odds, according to skybet.com. Consider Kaymer, who was just two back heading into the final round last week in China. The U.S. Open champion finished three back and T-6 at the HSBC and is 12th in the world rankings. He also cashed in winning The Players title last May in Florida. Consider Rose, who won in July at the Scottish Open on the European Tour and in June at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour. For a longer shot, take Thornbjorn Olesen at 28-1 odds. He enters in great form having just captured the Perth International in mid-October.

Other Golf News:

  • Fresh off his victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, Masters champion Bubba Watson returns to action. This week is the top betting selection on the Japan Tour at the Taiheiyo Masters. Watson, who is now No.3 in the world rankings, has three wins in 2014. He is a 4-1 pick in an event that includes Ryo Ishikawa, Koumei Oda and Hiroshi Iwata, who finished up a shot back of Bubba in China. 
  • Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, So-Yeon Ryu, Lydia Ko and Suzann Pettersen headline the field at the LPGA Tour’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational this week at the Guadalajara Country Club in Mexico. Lexi Thompson is the defending champion edging Lewis by a shot last season. Park is the betting favorite at 5 1/2-1 odds to win the title.
  • Major champion Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner are featured players at the Asian Tour’s Chiangmai Classic this week. Schwartzel is the favorite at 5-1 odds, but Dufner is coming off a T-10 at the HSBC Champions in China including a final-round 68.
  • McIlory has yet to compete since failing to chase down Oliver Wilson in the final round at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October.
  • The PGA Tour hosts the OHL Classic at Mayakoba this week at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Harris English is the defending champion and co-betting favorite at 22-1 odds alongside Robert Streb, who won The McGladrey Classic in late October.