Victor Dubuisson of France is the defending champion in the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sport at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal Course in Antalya, Turkey. With only two events left on the 2014 European Tour, the Race to Dubai is nearing its climax.
A strong field has assembled for this event to fight for a share of the sizeable $7,000,000 purse. Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are amongst those on the start sheet.
There are three key battles still raging on the European Tour and almost every player in the field this week will have an interest in at least two of them. The first is to secure a place in the top-60 on the Race to Dubai standings and so a start in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship; the second is to gain a spot in the top-15 on the standings and a share of the Race to Dubai bonus pool; the third is to be crowned European Tour Number 1.
Here are four things to watch for at the Turkish Airlines Open this week:
1. The battle for the top-60. Eddie Pepperell of England currently sits in 60th on the Race to Dubai standings with 530,000 points. As it is, he would be the last player to make it into next week’s DP World Tour Championship. But, with 1,666,600 points available for the winner this week, things could change dramatically. Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (currently 82nd) is the lowest ranked player on the start sheet in Turkey. If he were to win, he could move into the top-10. So those around the bubble will need a good week to secure a start next week.
2. The battle for the top-15. With so many points available in the last two events, the competition to secure a share of the Race to Dubai bonus pool is still very much up in the air. Ireland’s Shane Lowry is currently 15th on 1,530,000 points, but he’s less than 1,000,000 points behind Jamie Donaldson in second place and only 1,000,000 points ahead of Eddie Pepperell who lies 60th. With 1,666,600 points going to this week’s winner and with over 1,000,000 for the runner-up, there’s sure to be some significant movement on the standings after Turkey.
3. The battle to be Number 1. Only three men can now prevent Rory McIlroy from being crowned European Tour Number 1 next week in Dubai. Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem all have to win this week in Turkey and again in Dubai, and hope that Rory struggles in the DP World Tour Championship, to have any chance. Donaldson is currently second on the Race to Dubai standings. If he wins the final two tournaments and McIlroy finishes worse than fifth in the season-ender, the Welshman would be Number 1. It’s highly unlikely, but it is possible.
4. Good scoring. In last year’s inaugural Turkish Airlines Open, Victor Dubuisson secured a memorable breakthrough victory, posting a four-round total of 24-under-par. He finished with three birdies in his last four holes to beat Jamie Donaldson by two shots. The Welshman fired a closing 63 that included a hole-in-one at the 16th. In last year’s event, 63 of the 78 players in the field broke par for 72 holes. Some 43 men finished 10-under-par or better.