The Turkish Airlines Open is a new European Tour event so one has no course form on which to base one’s assessments, just recent form and the knowledge that Colin Montgomerie designed the track in Belek, not far from Antalya.
Tiger Woods is in attendance but the world number one has a pretty ordinary record on new course. Most of Woods’s wins in recent years have occurred on tracks with which he is familiar and he has enjoyed previous success. Woods is a top-priced 5.50 Turkish Airlines Open favourite with Paddy Power and, while he always commands respect, he is too short in the circumstances to recommend a financial investment.
One golfer who does appeal at his odds, however, is the one and only Ian Poulter. Not everyone’s cup of tea, Poulter is a golfer who comes alive towards the end of the calendar year, with his record in tournaments from October onwards because right up there with the best in the world. Poulter has won 16 professional events and 10 of his victories have taken place in October, November or December. Maybe that has got something to do with the tournament atmosphere in those months being a little bit more relaxed than usual. After all, Poulter is a golfer who revels in the unorthodox.
Poulter has played very well in each of the last two weeks, finishing 15th in the BMW Masters before running second in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. Poulter has a red-hot putter, ranking in the top three with the flat stick in each of the aforementioned events. Usually tidy from tee to green, which is likely to be a key statistic on a course designed by Montgomerie, Poulter is the pick of the Turkish Airlines Open favourites at odds of 17.00 with Bet365.
With regards to a Turkish Airlines Open match bet featuring Poulter, bookmakers have paired the Englishman with Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel and Henrik Stenson. Poulter is on the record as saying that he has struck a private bet with Stenson at odds of 11.00 that he gets past the Swede in the Race To Dubai rankings before the end of the season and it is his clash with the ladder leader that appeals most from a punting perspective. Poulter is trading at odds of 1.95 with Spreadex to beat Stenson in Belek.
Stenson has played no better than fair in each of his two European Tour starts since finishing third in the final major tournament of the year, the PGA Championship. Stenson placed 34th in the BMW Masters and 31st in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions so Poulter’s form over the last couple of weeks is much, much better than that of the Swede.
Apart from Poulter, Casey is well worth a second thought at odds of 36.00 with BetVictor to win the Turkish Airlines Open because of his past triumphs on tracks laid out by Montgomerie. Casey took out the 2011 Volvo Golf Champions at the Royal Golf Club in Bahrain and he won this year’s Irish Open on the Montgomerie-designed course at Carton House Golf Club, one of two tracks at the venue.
Casey is available at odds of 2.00 with Paddy Power to defeat Lee Westwood in a Turkish Airlines Open match bet. Casey has finished eighth and 20th in his last two events, whereas Westwood is coming off 24th and 55th results, plus everyone knows that the latter’s mediocre putting is the reason why he is yet to win a major title. Indeed, it has been a long while since Westwood posted a high finish in any tournament, irrespective of status.