Monday, 4 November 2013

Turkish Airlines Open - Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Antalya, Turkey

The penultimate tournament for the European Tour "Final Series" hits a new destination this week as 78 players descend on the Colin Montgomerie Maxx Royal GC in Turkey. Its the first time, a European Tour event is being played here and apart from Monty himself, the course will be a real unknown to the players. The par-72,7100 yds course looks as if it may yield a few birdies this week. With 5 par 5s it augurs well for low scoring for the field headed by World Number One, Tiger Woods, Race to Dubai leader, Henrik Stenson and his closest challengers, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. It is last chance for players to make the TOP 60 and move onto the finale in Dubai and there are a couple of major winners just outside that TOP 60 mark in Paul Lawrie (64) and Padraig Harrington (67) who really need a huge week to qualify. I really fancy the chances of Martin Kaymer this week and a win would really put him in the mix next week but I won't be backing him at best odds of 16/1.

I tweeted last night that I was backing Matteo Manassero @ 66/1 with Titanbet.  ( Why not open an account with Titanbet and get a free £25bet  this week). Its a price probably arrived at due to the Italian being awfully quiet the past couple of months as well as the fact there are those par 5s which will suit the bigger hitters, but Manny proved at Wentworth earlier this season that he can contend on courses where least expected and he will be fresh and under no pressure here despite currently lying 7th in the R2D rankings, only 900k behind Stenson (big money these 2 weeks can make big changes). I'm not worried about the perception that he is a "short hitter", Manny can still hit a decent enough drive in my book, but its his accuracy and ball striking that I feel could suit here. He was a bit off the pace last week in China finishing 17 shots behind our winner Dustin Johnson although good enough for a TOP 25. He missed the cut in Portugal before that and along with MCs at the US & British Opens as well as The Masters his form in the big events could be questionable. However, these are the only tournaments he has missed the cut in this year and I'm happy to see 66/1 for a player that has recorded 9 TOP25s,2 TOP 10s and a WIN in his 24 starts on a course of this setup. At 24, he is already a 4 time winner on tour and represents good value for me this week.

My second selection this week is Jamie Donaldson @ 40/1. The Welshman is playing very consistently lately and is simmering for a win soon. He had a TOP 10 last week in China despite a poor 2nd rd 74, was T34th at the BMW Masters and T6th in Portugal before that. He's in form! Along with his win in Abu Dhabi this season, Jamie has posted a further 5 TOP 10s from his 21 starts. He appears to be striking the ball very well lately too and he'll be challenged for this and next week. In the 78 man field, 40/1 is a bet for me for a player in fine fettle.

My third selection is Chilean, Felipe Aguilar @ 150/1. The 39 year has never been on my radar or staking plan before and this may well indeed be a very competitive field, but nonetheless, its a course that just might suit this very accurate player who ranks 11th on tour in GIR, and 9th in Driving Accuracy. He may be well down the Driving Distance ranks but he averages 285 and I'm not too worried about distance off the tee this week. What I am worried about is his putting stats where he ranks 167 with an average of 30.5 putts per round. That said, Stenson and Kaymer are only slightly better than him and they are bound to contend this week ! Aguilar has posted 7 TOP 10s in his 25 starts on tour this season and with pleasant 25 degrees of sunshine forecasted for each day he could surprise given that he arrived there last Saturday to prepare.

To complement the small stakes on Aguilar, I'm going to stick with Richard Sterne again this week. Not a great effort the past 2 weeks but he may just take solace from his final round 63 in Sheshan on Sunday and should he open with a decent round on Thursday, the South African could put the cat amongst the pigeons and challenge for the title and should he win he would improve on his current R2D standing of 6th.
I'll stick with Sterne based on my views posted on this blog the past 2 weeks and the price.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w M.Manassero @ 66/1 Titanbet

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w J.Donaldson @ 40/1 Titanbet

TIP 3: .25 pts e/w F.Aguilar @ 150/1 Titanbet

TIP 4:  .75 pts e/w R.Sterne @ 70/1 Bet365