As the PGA Tour takes a break before the season-ending Tour Championship, the European Tour heads to the Golf Club Milano for this year’s Italian Open. The course is a par-71 measuring just under 7,200 yards, and this parkland course renowned for tree-lined narrow fairways and smaller than average greens.
The course also staged the event last year, so there’s no better place to look for clues than last year’s leaderboard. The 2015 renewal was won by Rikard Karlberg who scored –19 under, then belied his underdog status to beat Martin Kaymer in a play-off. There where then 8 players tied one-shot further back.
It’s no surprise to see last year’s runner-up Kaymer heading the market at 14/1, as he’s recorded 4 top-15 finishes in his last 5 events, and he knows a win before the Ryder Cup would rubber-stamp his Wildcard Pick. Other Ryder Cuppers to note are Dany Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick who both finished one-shot outside last year’s play-off. Fitzpatrick especially catches the eye, as this venue should be ideal for him, and he improved with each round last year 70/68/67/65. Both he and Kaymer make this week’s staking plan.
Third up is another player who missed the play-off by one last year, and Joakim Lagergren started even slower than Fitzpatrick with a 72. He’s posted 2 top-20s in his last 3 events, and also caught the eye as he’s been making lots of birdies – which the winner will have to do this week.
Next up is Italian hero Francesco Molinari who, having had the extra pressure of trying to make the Ryder Cup team lifted off his shoulders, may just relax and take his home title. A level-par second round stopped him in his tracks last year but, if he can avoid a repeat, he shouldn’t be far away.
The last player in this week’s portfolio is David Lipsky, who finished again finished one-shot off the leaderboard last year. Consecutive finishes of 6th and 3rd took too much out of him before he tried to regain his Omega Master Title two weeks ago but, after a week off, he could easily return here in good form and compete at a course he played so well at last year when not in such good form.
Martin Kaymer 1 Point Each-Way @ 14/1 (BetVictor) ¼ odds 5 places
Matthew Fitzpatrick 1 Point Each-Way @ 22/1 (BetVictor) ¼ odds 5 places
Joakim Lagergren 1 Point Each-Way @ 110/1 (Bet365) ¼ odds 5 places
Francesco Molinari 1 Point Each-Way @ 28/1 (BetVictor) ¼ odds 5 places
David Lipsky 1 Point Each-Way @ 80/1 (Betfred) ¼ odds 6 places