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Preview: European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open

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

The European Tour hosts the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open this week.

The $7 million event – the third leg of the Race To Dubai four-event series finale – is a 78-player limited-field tournament held at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, a Colin Montgomerie-designed layout. The course conditions remind some of well-respected Pinehurst with its sloppy greens.

The field – headlined by World No. 1 Tiger Woods, FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose – includes nearly 20 of the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Stenson currently leads the Race To Dubai standings followed by Graeme McDowell, who is not playing this week, Rose and Ian Poulter. Stenson is grouped with Woods and Rose in the final tee time Thursday in the opening round off No. 1 at 11:05 a.m. local time.

2012 Results:

  • Rose won the title in the augural tournament designed as a preview for 2013. The field was an eight-player exhibition in October of 2012.

FANTASY:  Poulter arrives in great form after last week’s runner-up finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Look for Thongchai Jaidee to make a run. Among the favorites include former No. 1 and PGA champion Martin Kaymer. Consider Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is trending.

BETTORS: Woods is the big favorite at Ladbrokes.com at 4-to-1 odds, but Rose (10-1) should certainly contend into the weekend. Avoid Stenson, who is fighting through a wrist injury but valiantly trying to compete and win the Race To Dubai. Francesco Molinari, at 40-1, is a great long-shot pick.

Other Golf News:

  • Reports say Woods received a $3 million appearance fee this week (completely legal on the European Tour but not on the PGA Tour).
  • The PGA Tour hosts The McGladrey Classic at Sea Island, Georgia teeing off Thursday. The tournament includes Top 20 standouts Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar,
  • Rickie Fowler, No. 43 in the world rankings, opened with an 8-under-63 at the PGA Tour of Australasia’s Australian PGA Championship. He leads the field at the moment. Masters champion Adam Scott is even par through four holes in the early going of round one.
  • Brandt Snedeker withdrew from the Australian PGA Championship with a knee injury.
  • Stacy Lewis, Rolex Ranking No. 3, is a 4-1 betting pick at the 54-hole LPGA Mizuno Classic in Japan. The defending champion has 16 Top 10s this year including three victories.