Turkish Airlines Open preview and betting tips from Ben Coley

Check out Ben Coley's tips for the Turkish Airlines Open
Check out Ben Coley's tips for the Turkish Airlines Open

Golf expert Ben Coley has four selections for the Turkish Airlines Open, headed by Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Recommended bets

2pts e.w. Kiradech Aphibarnrat at 28/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Andy Sullivan at 50/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Padraig Harrington at 50/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Chris Paisley at 100/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

The contrast between the final event of what's now the European Tour regular season and the first of three lucrative events to round off the campaign is stark. A fortnight ago, cards were on the line in Spain, the pressure ratcheted up a further notch by a host venue which suffocates players. Unless your name happens to be Sergio Garcia, the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama can be a terrifying experience.

Now, we head to Turkey and the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort - pure luxury, both in terms of hospitality and golf course. For the best on the circuit, many of whom are in attendance, there really isn't anything complicated about what lies ahead and it's a case of engaging top gear and making as many birdies as possible under what promise to be bright blue skies.

The course is best described by the word 'resort'. It's set up not for these elite, once-a-year visitors, but for the thousands of golfing nomads who flock to Antalya for a few days of golf with friends. Fairways might look fairly narrow thanks to the tall trees which guard them, but it takes a wayward shot to become stymied and there's little or no punishment from the rough.

When the European Tour first came here, two years ago, Thorbjorn Olesen dominated from Friday onward. He did so despite ranking a lowly 64th in driving accuracy yet managing to be inside the top-10 in greens, further evidence that what you do off the tee here isn't all that important.

Thorbjorn Olesen crashed out alongside Lucas Bjerregaard
Thorbjorn Olesen should go well here once more

The second edition went to form, Justin Rose making birdie a the 72nd hole to win, and it underlines the fact that this course takes all sorts. Dylan Frittelli, who chipped in and chipped in and still couldn't quite do it, pushed Rose all the way along with Nicolas Colsaerts, the Belgian having torn the course apart with a brace of 64s before slowing on the weekend.

Further down both leaderboards you'll find a bit of everything: dynamite putters like George Coetzee; the short and steady Fabrizio Zanotti; the lengthy Belgians, Colsaerts and Thomas Pieters. There is no handicap here but not being powerful, but there are options off virtually every tee box if you have got an extra 20 in your locker.

All of that makes it hard to unravel, but I'm drawn to the 28/1 quoted about Kiradech Aphibarnrat after his excellent top-five finish in China last week.

The Thai has an excellent record in Turkey, finishing third in the final renewal of this event at Maxx Royal before 25th on his Carya debut and sixth last year.

He also thrives at this time of year, evidenced by a run of 2-24-6-42-2-10-1-5 twelve months ago to earn his Masters place, and while he's taken care of that particular line of business already this time there's no reason for his focus to slip.

Aphibarnrat is currently 14th on the Race To Dubai, right in there in the battle for a significant bonus even if top spot is beyond reach. Never before has he quite cracked the top 10, with best finishes of 11th and 13th, but he's capable of doing so with a big performance in Turkey.

Last week saw him share fourth, his short-game in tremendous nick, and Aphibarnrat does tend to hold his form well once he finds it - no surprise given the natural way in which he approaches the game. Earlier this year he followed fifth at Wentworth with an excellent performance on the PGA Tour while prior to that, he won twice and finished fifth in a four-event stretch starting in Perth.

Just how significant it is that Aphibarnrat has won at Lake Karrinyup, just like former Turkey winner Olesen, I do not know. However, it's absolutely significant that one way or another he collects titles in a way that some others in the second wave of the market do not and having beaten all those who played last week bar Rose, this event comes along at a nice time.

The defending champion has another opportunity to return to top spot in the world and is respected, but he's just not the sort of player to back at 4/1. Rose's prominence in the game owes more to his consistency rather than collection of titles and while he wins more than his share, he can't be a punting proposition here.

Tommy Fleetwood is no more tempting, as he's struggled to really score here despite setting up more chances than anyone over the last two years. His performances are virtually identical, 22nd in 2016 followed by 23rd, both while pounding greens, but he's won three times in a couple of years and looks short enough.

As such, the best bet of the high-profile Ryder Cup trio at the top of the market would have to be Thorbjorn Olesen at 16/1. Seventh last week, he arrives in form and his scoring average over the last two years here is a ridiculous 66.63, enough to earn him victory and then fifth place on his title defence.

He won a week after Rose did in the spring, in a Rolex Series event not dissimilar to this one where birdies in bunches were required, and is still getting better. Given that Olesen has long been an exceptional front-runner who does not waste his chances, that bodes well for his third crack at a golf course he loves.

Still, with a decent each-way bet on Aphibarnrat in the bag I'm happy to let him go and instead chance Andy Sullivan.

Unlike those already mentioned, Sullivan does not boast an eye-catching course record but that doesn't mean this place isn't suitable. In fact I happen to think that it's ideal for a straight-hitting birdie-machine whose last victory came under low-scoring, resort conditions in Portugal.

Unfortunately for Sullivan, he arrived in awful form last year while in 2016, it was his first start after he'd finished runner-up back in Portugal when he felt he ought to have won but was let down by the putter. Perhaps under the circumstances, 25th here represents a perfectly solid effort.

As for his performance in China last week, it's a non-factor. Rewind to 2015 and Sullivan made his debut at Sheshan, finishing way down the field. From there he played three more events, registering 17th, second and 16th, the middle of those results a gallant runner-up effort behind Rory McIlroy in Dubai.

Before the WGC-HSBC Champions, Sullivan had improved week-on-week with a run of 30-28-20-10-9 and he appears ready to strike, as a player who features in all the relevant birdie-making stats and who will be desperate to start moving the right way up the world rankings once more.

When Sullivan finished second in defence of his Portugal Masters title it was Padraig Harrington who held him off and, not for the first time this autumn, I think the Irishman is overpriced.

It's easy to look at form figures of 2-5-MC-7-22-66 and see a player whose purple patch has ended, but Harrington said before his down-the-field performance at Valderrama that he doesn't enjoy playing there any more yet still ranked second in greens and first in scrambling.

The quality of his iron play has been a feature of the last couple of months and when he's able to either get away with misses or club down off the tee, he remains a serious threat at this level despite his advancing years.

Unlike Valderrama, Harrington says he loves playing here, the options on every tee box appealing to his sense of adventure, and form figures of 31-4 at the course are further testament to that.

Last year he shot 65-72-64-67, Friday clearly his undoing, and he'll be glad of the chance to put that right having only just crept into the field to keep alive his hopes of reaching the DP World Tour Championship, an event he's played just four times previously.

To reach Dubai he needs something in the region of a top-10 finish here and it's well within his compass at what looks to me to be an extremely generous price.

It was tempting to side with one of the Spanish contingent here, such as Jorge Campillo, who said it reminds him of home. He's been excellent in 2018, taking his game to a new level, and even when towards the tail end in China last week was third for ball-striking.

Gavin Green has some high-class form to his name this year, performances such as third in the Czech Republic and ninth in the British Masters demonstrating that he's increasingly comfortable, and the Malaysian has the sort of powerful, aggressive game which can unlock some low scores here.

Green is respected along with fellow youngsters Marcus Kinhult and Matthias Schwab, both of whom arrive in excellent form and will relish the chance to plot their way to birdie opportunities. Kinhult in particular was considered but we are talking about a Rolex Series event and they tend to go to those who know already how to get the job done.

We did of course see an almighty shock in the last one, the Scottish Open, but Brandon Stone is a class act who already had a couple of European Tour titles to his name and this is a difficult place to win for the first time. That's why Erik van Rooyen also fails to make the cut, so to speak, despite an excellent WGC debut last week.

Instead I'll take a chance on Chris Paisley becoming the latest new dad to show the benefits of a life-changing experience and win for the second time this season.

Paisley won the January player of the month award, primarily because of his tenacious victory over Branden Grace in the BMW SA Open. After carrying that form to the Middle East, however, he endured a summer slump - something which happens to so many in his situation.

Eighth place in the concluding event of the Web.com Tour Finals saw him miss out on a PGA Tour card by a single shot, but it also represented a return to form and he followed it with a very solid performance in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on his sole subsequent start.

Paisley now gets the chance to build on that having become a dad in the interim and as an excellent putter who closed with a round of 67 here on his debut two years ago, he might just be able to freewheel into contention.

It's worth noting, too, that at 59th in the R2D standings he needs a solid week to earn his place in Dubai.

Finally, Paul Waring is a big price for one who was 14th here last year and whose long-game has returned over the last couple of weeks.

The Englishman broke through with victory in Sweden earlier this year before, like Paisley, things became difficult. However his last two starts, latterly in Spain, confirm that things are looking up and he's been making all the right noises. One to note in the first-round leader market, perhaps.

Posted at 2055 GMT on 29/10/18.

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