As the 2013 European Tour season eases into the final two events, The Turkish Airlines Open presented by The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is the last chance for players near the bubble to punch their tickets to Dubai next week. Only the top 60 players will tee it up next week for the DP World Tour Championships, Dubai for the big finale’ and the bonus payday. Englishman Danny Willett is on the hot-seat at number 60, and will be looking for some separation in Turkey.
Some of the bigger names that Americans might recognize who are just on the outside of the cut line, and need some help are Paul Lawrie from Scotland at 64, Padraig Harrington from Ireland at 66, and Simon Dyson, from England at 68. Unfortunately for Dyson, he was DQ’d at the BMW Masters two weeks ago for touching his line on the green after marking his ball.
I’m not sure Dyson can bounce back enough to make the 60 player cut, and it’s a shame if he is not in Dubai next week. There is word out there that he may be called in front of the R&A committee for further disciplinary action.
Leading the Race To Dubai points standings is of course, 2013 FedEx Cup champion, Henrik Stenson. Even though the 37 year-old Swede has played poorly at the two previous tournaments due to some problems with his wrist, he still holds almost a 200,000 point lead over number two Graeme McDowell.
McDowell made some headway this past week with his third place finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday. He was loosing some ground to number three, Justin Rose, but the nice finish gave him a 200,000 point cushion in the Race. With his second place finish on Sunday, Ian Poulter moved into a solid fourth place, 100,000 points ahead of Gonzalo FDEZ Costano.
If someone had asked who I was picking to win the RTD Championship after the BMW Masters, I would have picked Costano. The Spaniard has been playing well all season, and finally got the win at Lake Malaren. With McDowell and Rose not making much noise previous to the HSBC, I thought Costano might sneak in and surprise some people.
I’m not sure Costano can close the deal, his T39 at Sheshan this weekend brings some doubt into the equation. Constano has a 150,000 point edge over number six, Richard Sterne. I now think there is too much horsepower at the top for him to win it all this year. Gonzalo FDEZ Costano is apparently joining the PGA full-time in 2014 but will play enough in Europe to qualify next year.
The “Wild Card” in this race is sitting in 38th position. 2012 Race To Dubai Champion, Rory McIlroy looks to have his game on-track, and is starting to climb the standings. He was in 62nd place prior to the HSBC, and it is still unclear if he will play in Turkey to gain some points.
One thing we know for sure is he likes, and plays well at The Jumeriah Resort, and could still win the race, but I think he needs to play this week to get a little closer to the leaders. He finished T6 at Sheshan International Golf Course this past week, and would have had a shot at the win if he could have made some putts.
The 24 year-old McIlroy is hitting the ball really well at this point, and has the old look in his eye so I wouldn’t count the World’s number six player out just yet.
This race is summing up to be very exciting. With two major champions in the top five, and the FedEx Cup champion leading the pack, this should get good before it’s over!
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