There's just a round to go at the Turkish Airlines Open and Matthias Schwab is still in front. Can the Austrian go wire-to-wire and win his first European Tour event?
“Winning wire-to-wire is never easy and winning your first event wire-to-wire in a Rolex Series event is a really big ask. Schwab’s been superb so far this week but sleeping on a third-round lead is quite different to sleeping on a first or second round advantage.”
18:30 - November 09, 2019
A six-under-par 66 third round has seen Matthias Schwab move three strokes clear of the field at the Turkish Airlines Open. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 18:25.
Matthias Schwab -18 2.186/5
Patrick Reed -15 7.26/1
Tyrrell Hatton -15 8.615/2
Robert MacIntyre -15 10.09/1
Benjamin Hebert -15 18.017/1
Ross Fisher -15 19.5
-14 and 44.043/1 bar
Brooks Koepka won here from two strokes back in 2014 but Victor Dubbuisson was five clear when he won here in 2013 and he was tied for the lead when he took the title again in 2015, and Since 1996, 120 men have led a European Tour event by three strokes through 54 holes and 83 of them (69%) have gone on to win. All that suggests Schwab is a very fair price at odds-against but I'm not convinced.
Winning wire-to-wire is never easy and winning your first event wire-to-wire in a Rolex Series event is a really big ask. Schwab's been superb so far this week but sleeping on a third-round lead is quite different to sleeping on a first or second round advantage. He's a player that looks destined to have a really bright future and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him convert but I definitely don't want to back him at just a shade of odds-against.
Schwab has been an absolute monster on the long holes all week, playing them in an incredible 17-under-par. He's five-under-par at the opening hole alone! So, whether you want to back him or take him on, waiting to see how he plays the first might be an idea. If he fails to pick up anything there tomorrow, that could shape the entire day.
As for alternatives, Dave Tindall's each-way pick, Robert McIntyre, is tied for second but he looks short enough to me now and I like the obvious two - Patrick Reed and Tyrrell Hatton.
Having toyed with it, I'm kicking myself for not backing Reed at halfway (see yesterday's post) and he looks the most feasible alternative but he's only six-under-par for the par fives. Can he play them better tomorrow? He's bogeyed the 13th twice this week - although he also eagled it on Friday.
Hatton's stats have been very good this week and he's ten-under-par on the long holes. He played the back-nine in five-under-par today to throw his hat in the ring and he's the only player in-contention to have previously won a Rolex Series event (the 2017 Italian Open). Given three of the last four Rolex Series winners had all previously won one, that's a plus.
With both in-play pick, Alex Noren, and pre-event pick, Danny Willett, beginning the day in a tie for second, I was hopeful of a result tomorrow but they were both awful today - shooting two-over-par 74s! so I'm out of the game now. I haven't done anything further as yet but I'll probably get involved tomorrow in-running. I like Reed and I want to be against Schwab but waiting until the Austrian's played the opening hole makes sense.
I'll be back tomorrow night or Monday with the De-brief.
18:30 - November 08, 2019
With a birdie four at his final hole of the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open, first round leader, Matthias Schwab, has edged one clear of a packed field. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 18:25.
Matthias Schwab -12 6.86/1
Danny Willett -11 8.88/1
Alex Noren -11 11.521/2
Thomas Detry -11 14.013/1
Ross Fisher -11 23.022/1
Justin Rose -10 7.26/1
Robert MacIntyre -10 14.013/1
Justin Harding -10 34.033/1
Jason Scrivener -10 50.049/1
-9 and 25.024/1 bar
All three previous course winners, between 2013 and 2015, were inside the top-four places at this stage but I'm not sure we can take much notice of that given the four players tied for 11th at halfway this year are as many strokes adrift (three) as Victor Dubbuisson was when he won the title for a second time in 2015. And although he sat second, Brooks Koepka was six off the lead in 2014. Six off the lead this year is tied for 33rd! Ian Poulter threw the event away in round three that year and he had lost the lead by the end of Saturday. Dubbuisson was tied for the lead at halfway before a third round 63 saw him scoot five-clear when he won the inaugural staging so he's the only 36-hole leader to go on to win.
I was quite tempted by Patrick Reed at 25.024/1 given he'll be full of beans after his Presidents Cup selection and that he's only four strokes adrift but the scoring is so low here that it's going to be very hard to pass all the traffic ahead of him. He's tied for 15th, alongside nine others on -8, and it's hard to envisage none of the 14 men ahead of him having two low rounds around here over the weekend. Reed, or anyone else as far as four, or maybe even three, strokes back is going to have to go super low.
I'm obviously happy to have pre-event pick, Danny Willett, just one off the lead and I think he's a fair price still. He had a very dodgy spell after he missed a great birdie chance on nine today when he failed to get up-and-down for birdie on the drivable par four tenth before making three fives in-a-row at 11, 12 and 13, thanks to a couple of three-putts and a missed fairway on 13. He recovered nicely after that and I fancy he should be there or thereabouts come the back-nine on Sunday.
The leader looks vulnerable at the head of the market given he's yet to win and Justin Rose is still prominent in the market after he again finished his round off nicely, birdying three of the last five holes today. He was certainly fortunate to do so on 18 though as he hit a poor drive and was lucky his ball finished adjacent to a bush rather than in it! He's not been at his brilliant best yet this week so he may well be able to kick on over the weekend but the only one I thought was a fair enough price to back at this stage was Alex Noren.
The Swede led by a stroke when he stood on the 18th tee today but a poor second shot put him in trouble and he three-putted from distance for bogey. That was his first dropped shot of the week though and he's played well up to now. I thought 12.011/1 was just fair enough given he knows how to win a Rolex Series event.
15:10 - November 07, 2019
The opening round of the Turkish Airlines Open has just finished and Tom Lewis and Austria's Matthias Schwab show the way after they both posted seven-under-par 65s in differing fashions. The 28-year-old Englishman didn't seem to be going anywhere for much of the day but the putter warmed up nicely on the back-nine and he birdied six of his last seven holes whereas Schwab started well, playing the first eight in five-under-par. Here's the first round leaderboard with prices to back at 15:05.
Matthias Schwab -7 9.417/2
Tom Lewis -7 14.013/1
Thomas Pieters -6 12.5
Alex Noren -6 14.5
David Lipsky -6 50.049/1
Justin Rose -5 6.86/1
Danny Willett -5 13.5
Joost Luiten -5 23.022/1
Thomas Detry -5 27.026/1
Benjamin Hebert -5 65.064/1
Scott Jamieson -5 100.099/1
Tyrrell Hatton -4 17.5
-4 and 23.022/1 bar
This year's Turkish Airlines Open is being played back at the Montgomerie Maax Royal, the course that staged the first three renewals between 2013 and 2015, so we do have some course history to look back at and if those three years are anything to go by, a rapid start isn't absolutely essential but you do need to get your skates on after round one...
Victor Dubbuisson sat tied for 13th and three off the lead after the first round in 2013 but he led all the way after that, Brooks Koepka was tied for 23rd and six back in 2014, before he moved up to second at halfway and in 2015, Dubuisson won here for a second time, despite trailing by eight after round one. He sat tied for 17th before climbing to third at halfway.
Pre-event favourite, Justin Rose, who's bidding to win the tournament for a third year in-a-row, was matched at a high of 18.017/1 this morning but he finished really well, birdying the last three holes, and he's now the man to beat.
One of my pre-event picks, Danny Willett, is alongside Rose and Mike Norman's each-way fancy, Joost Luiten, in a tie for sixth but Christiaan Bezuidenhout looks out of it and adding Steven Brown (see below tweet) yesterday was a waste of time and money. He sits tied for 68th after posting a two-over-par 74.
I know back-to-back winners are rare but given how good Steve Brown is going to feel after winning in Portugal to secure his playing rights, should he really be almost 400/1 to win again here? He was 11th in France before winning too so it didn't come completely out of the blue.? Steve Rawlings (@SteveThePunter) November 6, 2019
Given the in-running stats mentioned above, I'm happy to add Andrea Pavan at 44.043/1 and I'll be keeping an eye on Victor Perez tomorrow. They both sit tied for 12th and only three off the lead.
Danny Willett @ 36.035/1
Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 46.045/1
Steven Brown @ 390.0389/1 Added after the preview published
Andrea Pavan @ 44.043/1
Alex Noren @ 12.011/1
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter