Golf: Coetzee a strong contender to take Turkish Airlines Open crown

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EUROPEAN Tour golf specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) returns to share his thoughts on the upcoming Turkish Airlines Open.

 Turkish Airlines Open | 2nd-5th November 2017 | Sky Sports

We’re into the final stretch of the European Tour after last week’s WGC in China with just three events left to determine the winner of the Race To Dubai.

Realistically, it’s Tommy Fleetwood who’ll most likely be walking away as the winner but Justin Rose catapulted himself into contention by winning last week. After that performance it’s no surprise to see Rose installed as the favourite.

Course background

This week it’s the fifth edition of the Turkish Airlines Open and the second at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort. Being a resort course, it’s not too challenging for the pros and should be a case of who can make the most birdies.

Finding the greens in regulation is key and from there it’s a case of who’s got the putter working. From week-to-week that’s not an easy thing to predict so a little luck is required but I’ll give it a go.

Last week was an almost week. Haydn Porteous started like a house on fire before falling away whilst Matt Fitzpatrick was just off the pace the whole week, eventually finishing tied-ninth.

I’m very tempted to back Porteous again but his putting isn’t the strongest and is what kept him out of the places so I’m begrudgingly leaving him out.

It’s a competitive field this week and as a result the market is pretty condensed but there are few at shorter prices I like.

George Coetzee (28/1 Bet365)

Firstly, someone I backed a few time recently with almost some success is George Coetzee, who is 28/1 at Bet365.

His form is still very good with three top-10’s in his last five starts and at the Italian Open last time out he ranked third in putting. In fact, over the last eight weeks only David Lipsky has better putting numbers in the field than George of those that have played more than two events.

Last year on this course Coetzee was fifth so that’s another big plus. Twelve months ago he ranked fourth in putting but only 52nd in GIR, which badly let him down. If he can correct that and find the greens as he’s been able at times recently, he’s got every chance of contending once again.

Peter Uilhein (33/1 Coral)

The other fancy is American Peter Uihlein at 33/1 (Coral). The likeable 28 year-old is in the form of his life and could carry that on for a while yet.

He went off to try and get his PGA card at the Web.com Tour Finals back in September and won the first event to wrap up the card in double quick time. In the last few weeks he’s been out in the Far East picking up 10th at the CIMB Classic and fifth at the WGC HSBC last week.

He ticks all the boxes here; he’s a very good putter, ranking 10th on the European Tour this season. He finds the greens regularly – 26th for the season -and when he doesn’t, his scrambling is also very good, up at sixth this season.

All in all Uilhein has eight top-10’s in the calendar year with a second at the Open de France his best performance on the European Tour. I’d expect him to be backed fairly heavily and that 33/1 should disappear pretty quickly.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera (125/1 Bet365)

Mike Lorenzo-Vera had a pretty torrid weekend in China but I’m willing to ignore that. Over the season he ranks very similarly to Uilhein in the key stats – sixth, 27th and third in putting, GIR and scrambling respectively.

He doesn’t have the same good record but he’s not far off which makes quotes of 125/1 (Bet365) look very appealing.

The Frenchman has had five top-10’s with his best also coming in the Open de France where he was third. Prior to last week’s WGC his last appearance was at the Italian Open where he was 10th and he also led the way in putting, so he’s got a bit of form about him.

He’s good enough to be pushing towards the top of the leaderboard in these kind of events and hopefully will do so this week.

Best Bets

Turkish Airlines Open – George Coetzee (28/1 each-way Bet365)

Turkish Airlines Open – Peter Uilhein (33/1 each-way Coral)

Turkish Airlines Open – Mike Lorenzo-Vera (125/1 each-way Bet365)

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