European Tour: The Italian Open

Golfer admires shot with wood in hand

We take a look at the Italian Open which is set to get underway on Thursday 12 October at the Golf Club Milano in Milan. 

The Rolex Series returns this week with a bang as a star-studded field descend on the Golf Club Milano for what looks destined to be a thrilling European stop. With the money involved doubling from last season, the event has managed to attract a far more enticing field that should provide plenty of thrills and spills. Defending champion and hometown hero Francesco Molinari will be looking to once again ignite hometown sentiment in a bid to move up from 8th in the current Road to Dubai standings.

The Italian Open | 12 October - 15 October | Golf Club Milano, Milan

The Italian Open was founded in 1925 and has been a fixture on the tour since 1972. Golf Club Milano will be hosting the event for the 9th occasion, and the tree-lined fairways and small greens should pose a reasonable threat for the talented contingent assembled here. Current Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood will be looking to extend that lead after a breakthrough season. He will be feeling fairly confident, having finished tied for 7th here last year, prior to his explosion onto the global stage.

Jon Rahm justifiably leads the markets this week. The combustible Spaniard won the third Rolex event in Ireland and will be hoping that his explosive game will click into gear more consistently. Compatriot Sergio Garcia amazingly makes his professional debut in Italy this week. The Masters Champion currently sits in 2nd place in the standings and will hope to regain the winning feeling in what has been a difficult post-Masters period for the Spanish veteran. One also shouldn’t discount last week’s winner in Scotland Tyrell Hatton, while the metronomic presences of both Alex Noren and Bernd Wiesberger lurk menacingly in the background.

Past Winners
2016: Francesco Molinari (-22)
2015: Rikard Karlberg (-19)*playoff
2014: Hennie Otto (-20)
2013: Julien Quesne (-12)
2012: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (-24)

To Win Outright
Jon Rahm 13/2, Sergio Garcia 14/1, Francisco Molinari 16/1, Tyrell Hatton 18/1, Tommy Fleetwood 20/1

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Value Bets 

Lucas Bjerregaard- To Win 55/1, To Place 12/1
This one strikes me as a potential gem. The winner of the inaugural GolfSixes event with compatriot Thorbjorn Olesen, Bjerregaard really burst onto the scene at Golf Club Milano with a T3rd finish in 2015. He finished 1shot behind the leaders and has been in excellent form of late. Looking past being cut at last week’s Alfred Dunhill event, the Dane had three consecutive top 10 finishes prior to that, including his first solo victory in Portugal. Clearly the presence of some name-brand personnel has rendered him somewhat less desirable, but I wouldn’t be surprised were he in contention again this week.

Alex Levy- To Win 66/1, To Place 14/1
The tempestuous form of Alex Levy is always a rather enigmatic thing, but the man does possess course form, with a 7th place finish in 2015. He has also already picked up a victory this season, winning the China Open. Levy was also a runner-up at the European Open, so I think that his price seems to have been affected by the return of the bugger guys. He also seems to have found some decent form, with a tie for 7th at the Alfred Dunhill last week. For my money, the big-hitting Frenchman is always worth a pop, especially at these prices.

Darren Fichardt- To Win 250/1, To place 55/1
The veteran South African has already won this year- besting young compatriot Brandon Stone in a pulsating Joburg Open. Since then, however, he has gone off the boil to some degree. However, he seems to have found some consistency in his game with four consecutive made cuts. He finished in a highly credible tie for 6th at Crans, with possesses similarly small greens to this course. He also has reasonable course stats here, with finishes of 20th and 16th in the last two seasons. Certainly worth a pop at 250/1.

The Man to Beat- Tommy Fleetwood- To Win 20/1, To Place 44/10
The leader of the pack has been relegated down the pecking order with the Spanish contingent and Tyrell Hatton’s links heroics. This makes him, for me, the best value of the top contenders this week. His putter was on fire last week, with that course record 63 at Carnousite a great portent this week. After that tie for 7th here last season, Fleetwood has become a regular threat at elite events. He already has a victory in the Rolex Series in France- to go with that brilliant victory in Abu Dhabi- and his determination to win the Player of the Year honors should make him a good bet at (20/1).

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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