Turkish delight possible for Poulter


This week sees the cream of the European Tour arrive at Carya Golf Club for the fifth edition of the Turkish Airlines Open, as the Race to Dubai enters the home straight.

The event is undoubtedly headlined by Justin Rose, Major champion and winner of last weekend’s WGC-HSBC Champions event in China.

Rose took full advantage of world number one Dustin Johnson suffering a spectacular collapse in the final round, though the Englishman did so only by playing his own flawless golf for a five-under par final round.

He arrives in Turkey with the chance to put pressure on Race To Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood and, as the 15/2 tournament favourite, Rose will be expected to contend and do just that.

Having played so well in China, to go with ultra-consistent form through much of 2017, look for more of the same from Rose this week.

Right behind him at Sheshan International was erstwhile Ryder Cup teammate Henrik Stenson, who is just behind Rose in the Turkish Airlines Open betting at 8/1.

The Swede finished two strokes behind last Sunday, on terms with Johnson and US Open champion Brooks Koepka, at 12-under par – four shots clear of the chasing pack.

Stenson has a pair of top-ten finishes in this event from when it was played at the Maxx Royal course, he also tends to go well late in the season, having won both the FedEx Cup and the Race To Dubai in the past. With his power and accuracy from the tee assured, the 2016 Claret Jug winner is fully expected to mount a challenge here.

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson (51/1 outright) is already a two-time winner of the event, though recent form is not so great, while Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen won on this track a year ago and is 40/1 to make a successful defence now.

Ian Poulter is sometimes a divisive figure amongst golf fans, never having been any sort of shrinking violet. The Englishman is enjoying a renaissance having come so close to losing his Tour card in America this year.

Poulter, like Stenson, tends to play well late in the year and he also boasts good record in Turkey. He led this very event by a massive six shots after two rounds in 2014, only to be pipped by Brooks Koepka.

At 31/1, Poulter is well worth considering in Turkey. The layout calls for accurate approach play and solid putting, stock in which Poulter tends to trade well. He enters the week ranked 54th in the world and so Poulter will know that a big week in Turkey may propel him back into the top-50 and the trimmings that come with that status.

With all-important Ryder Cup points also to be gained, and a tied-15th finish in the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup fresh in his memory, this could be another chance for Poulter to go well.

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