After a three-year absence, the Turkish Airways Open has returned to the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Belek, which first staged the match in 2013. This 12 months, many huge names shall be chasing a primary prize of $2 million, from a $7 million pot.
When Colin Montgomerie started designing the Montgomerie Maxx Royal on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, he hoped that it will change into a well-respected course and bolster golf within the area.
From the second it opened in 2008, his design was instantly acknowledged by many professionals as one of many nation’s greatest. It took simply 5 years for it to stage its first huge occasion, the Turkish Airways Open, a part of the European Tour. It attracted Tiger Woods in its first 12 months, when he famously shot a 63 (9-under-par) within the second spherical.
Within the two years that adopted, huge names got here to Turkey. Brooks Koepka of the USA, who made his identify on the European Tour earlier than profitable a number of majors, received in 2014 and Victor Dubuisson of France, who received in 2013, triumphed for a second time in 2015. When the match moved to the close by Carya Golf Membership in 2016, Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark took the title, whereas Justin Rose of England received in 2017 and 2018.
Now part of the Rolex Collection, its significance is emphasised by its place within the calendar. After Turkey, there is only one extra occasion, the Nedbank Golf Problem in South Africa, earlier than the DP World Tour Championship, which can determine the ultimate standings within the season-long Race to Dubai competitors. Final 12 months it was received by Francesco Molinari of Italy.
The Montgomerie Maxx Royal has a par-72, 7,132-yard structure, with undulating fairways inside about 260 acres of blended pine forest and sandy ridges. The course begins and ends with par 5s, providing the prospect for an excellent begin and a grandstand end, when the lead can change arms within the closing holes.
“If they’ve the tough up, then driving shall be key,” mentioned Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who’s within the lead within the Race to Dubai. “A few of the greens are additionally very undulated, so precision with iron pictures may be important for low scoring.
“We final performed there 4 years in the past, however I all the time actually loved enjoying on the Montgomerie and have had some good outcomes. The course was all the time in nice situation and arrange rather well.”
Danny Willett of England mentioned it was a enjoyable course.
“The entire facility may be very spectacular,” he mentioned. “It may be somewhat fiddly if I keep in mind accurately, however I believe rather a lot will rely upon how the course is about up.”
Montgomerie mentioned his favourite gap was the par-4 12th, as a result of it positioned a larger emphasis on accuracy and demanded a robust method shot to a troublesome, undulating inexperienced.
However whereas Montgomerie’s identify is synonymous with accuracy, particularly off the tee, the Montgomerie Maxx Royal is the place birdies are plentiful and driving distance, moderately than the pure capability to hit fairways, will reap the larger rewards.
Any course is simply nearly as good because the gamers who compete on it, however the Turkish Open area is stuffed with sturdy gamers, together with Shane Lowry, the British Open champion; Molinari; and Rose.
“We’re again on the Montgomerie Maxx Royal this 12 months, and I keep in mind it being an excellent course and venue, and I’m certain it will likely be one other excellent match,” Rose informed the Turkish Golf Federation’s web site.
He’s making an attempt to change into the primary man in virtually 20 years to win the identical European Tour occasion 3 times in a row. However simply the presence of gamers like Rose within the occasion can be essential to its success, mentioned Ahmet Agaoglue, the president of the federation.
“Justin is central to the Turkish Airways Open story, and it’s an honor to be welcoming him again to Turkey as soon as once more,” he informed the federation’s web site. “He has been top-of-the-line gamers on this planet for thus lengthy and is a superb ambassador for the game.”