The Turkish Airlines Open was a tournament played on the European Tour between 2013 and 2019.
In each season the Turkish Open was one of the final series of playoff events on the tour’s all-important Race to Dubai and the World Tour Championship.
Two courses have played host to the event, the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort and the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, both in Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. As the name of the latter suggests, it was designed by Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie who won 31 times on the European Tour.
Englishman Justin Rose and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson are the only players to win more than once at the Turkish Open, with two victories each.
|Montgomerie Maxx Royal
Turkish Airlines Open Recent Winners
Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club
As the name suggests, the venue was designed by Colin Montgomerie who has crafted a layout capable of hosting world class golfers as well as the tourists who play on the 7,133 par 72 layout for most of the year.
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the course’s card is that it contains five par fives and five par threes. This gives an instant advantage to the longer hitters who can capitalise on the par fives, that is, providing they don’t get tripped up by the shorter holes. Driving distance has been an important indicator of success at the Montgomerie Maxx but caddies will drill the importance of hitting greens in regulation into their players’ heads.
The Montgomerie Maxx was popular with the players during its time as the Turkish Airlines Open host. Although it looks a little foreboding to amateurs with tree-lined fairways and some fairly tricky pin positions, top level pros can take this layout apart when they get the sort of perfect golfing conditions expected for much of this year’s tournament.
From a technical perspective, what players do with their approach shots often proves to be key. Obviously, those who can take advantage of their power off the tee with top quality irons and wedges will have an edge but it can come down to a test of mentality as notching the required amount of birdies will be relentless.
About the Turkish Airlines Open
The Turkish Airlines Open has been part of the European Tour since 2013 and has always been played in the province of Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean cost. The competition was part of the European Tour Final Series until 2016.
From 2017, it became a Rolex Series event. Regnum Carya Golf Club and Montgomerie Maxx Royal have hosted the event both of which offer suitably picturesque backdrops to what has become a popular tournament with many players on the European Tour.
Frenchman Wins Two of the First Three
Victor Dubuisson, the man from Cannes, became the first Turkish Airlines Open winner, seeing off Welshman Jamie Donaldson by two strokes at Montgomerie Maxx in 2013, with the likes of Justin Rose, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson not far behind. Dubuisson shot a very impressive score of 264 – with rounds of 67, 65, 63 and 69 – which was 24 shots under par, a score that has not been bettered in this tournament (up to an including the 2019 event).
That was Dubuisson’s first European Tour success, but just two years later, Dubuisson finished top of the pile once again. This time, the French star beat South African Jaco van Zyl by a single stroke after scoring rounds of 69, 64, 67 and 66 to finish 22 under par. As of the end of the 2019 season, these two victories on Turkish turf have been Dubuisson’s only European Tour triumphs, though he’s had a handful of second and third place finishes over the years, including a runner-up spot in the WGC Match Play in 2014.
Rose Makes it Two on the Spin
Despite the short history of the event, English ace Justin Rose became the second man to win the Turkish Airlines Open twice when he won the 2018 tournament at Regnum Carya Golf Club. A year earlier, Rose finished a stroke ahead of Nicolas Colsaerts and Dylan Frittelli to win his first crown in Turkey.
Rose was involved in a thriller with China’s Li Haotong in 2018. The pair finished on 267 (17 under par), which resulted in a playoff to decide the winner. Things were all-square after the first playoff hole, but the next hole didn’t go well for Li, who needed three putts! Rose was therefore essentially gifted the win in the end and in the process he became the first player to win back-to-back Turkish Airlines Opens and indeed the first to successfully defend a tournament in the Rolex Series.
Hatton Edges Thriller in Turkey
After Rose’s wins in 2017 and 2018, Tyrrell Hatton kept the English flag flying in Turkey by winning the seventh Turkish Airlines Open in 2019. Having won two Alfred Dunhill Links Championships as well as the 2017 Italian Open, victory in Antalya was Hatton’s fourth European Tour win of his career.
In what was arguably the best Turkish Airlines Open to date, Hatton prevailed in a six-man playoff. It was the first six-player sudden-death playoff on the European Tour since the 2003 Alfred Dunhill Championship, which was won by Mark Foster. The English ace edged past Benjamin Hebert, Kurt Kitayama, Victor Perez, Matthias Schwab and Erik van Rooyen under the floodlights at Montgomerie Maxx. Hatton had to hold his nerve for four playoff holes and looked out of it at one point before chipping in from a tough lie.
English Winners of the Turkish Airlines Open – 2013 to 2019
|Score (To Par)
|Benjamin Hébert, Kurt Kitayama, Victor Perez, Matthias Schwab and Erik van Rooyen
|Nicolas Colsaerts and Dyland Frittelli
Single Victor from United States
The only player from the United States, indeed from outside of Europe, to win the Turkish Airlines Open was Brooks Koepka. The four-time major winner and former world number won the 2014 event – which was given the catchy title, Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports – by a single stroke from England’s Ian Poulter, with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson a couple of shots further back.
Koepka shot rounds of 69, 67, 70 and 65 to finish 17 under par. Poulter was kicking himself though – his scores in the first, second and final rounds of 64, 66 and 67 should have given him the victory but an awful (but his high standards) score of 75 in the third round meant he had to settle for second.
The Turkish Airlines Open victory was Koepka’s first on the European Tour and the only one that in not co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour. He has won the US Open twice (in 2017 and 2018) and the US PGA Championship twice (in 2018 and 2019), though we fully expect him to add to his major tally at some point in the future.