Victor Dubuisson took on the role of escape artist at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship last year, playing some wonderful shots from cactus-infested terrain. However, this year his latest trick has been to perform the invisible man.
After such a promising 2014, in which he also made the Ryder Cup team, Dubuisson hasn‘t bettered the T4 he recorded at the start of this year. He was even an unenviable T138 at the Omega European Masters in July.
Fast forward four months and Dubuisson is in a very different place. His one-shot win at the Turkish Airlines Open couldn’t have come at a better time, as his emotional response to victory showed.
The Frenchman’s win is one of five main talking points following the first of the Final Series events…
No.1 – Dubuisson wins in Turkey
With less than a year until the Ryder Cup, you can be sure that Darren Clarke will be assessing every option. Dubuisson will certainly be one of them, even if he doesn’t qualify automatically. The victory in Antalya required him to delve deep into his game to produce four rounds of golf that could better Jaco van Zyl, who started with a surprising 61 on Thursday. Dubuisson hit back with a second round 64, before closing with a 66. He is certainly an enigma, but one the game is richer for having.
No.2 – Chris Wood continues his excellent year
It’s well documented that Chris Wood could have been a footballer had it not been for injury. Football’s loss was certainly English golf’s gain, as the tall Bristolian recorded a fifth place finish in Turkey. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in his last four tournaments and finished one shot ahead of Rory McIlroy at the weekend. If he continues to perform to such high standards we could see him challenge on a major front next year.
No. 3 – Work to do for Graeme McDowell
The Northern Irishman’s form has been patchy to say the least. His game looks a long way from where it was when he won the 2010 US Open. His T37 finish in Turkey is another indicator that we’re still not seeing the best of him, particularly after his final round of 75. All the attributes are there and a good week is always a possibility given his ability. A break might do him some good and allow him to return to the sort of form that will see him fighting for majors.
No.4 – Not all plain sailing for the Brits
Just ask Andy Sullivan. After his nine-shot Portugal Masters win, Sullivan could have been forgiven for thinking that he could really make an impression in the Final Series. However, he slumped to a T60 finish following an opening round of 76 and put any expectations he might have had into perspective. A solid player, Sullivan will more than likely bounce back with interest in the next event, but Turkey was certainly a week to forget.
No. 5 – Always a surprise in store on the European Tour
Who saw Jaco van Zyl’s opening round of 61 coming? Whether it’s Miguel Angel Jimenez posting back-to-back T2s on tour earlier in the year, or van Zyl’s excellent first round in Turkey, it’s always dangerous to make a prediction about the European Tour. Expect more of the same in the final three events of the season, particularly if Rory McIlroy can’t rediscover that winning feeling again.