There is a week’s break from the manic schedule of the FedEx Cup Playoffs over on the PGA Tour. That means the European Tour is left to provide the golfing entertainment this week. Thankfully, it is obliging with the Italian Open.
The Italian Open is a tournament with a rich history and a very good reputation amongst European golf’s elite. That is one of the reasons why so many big names have made the trip to Monza this week. The players are also looking for those all-important Race to Dubai points as we move towards the business end of the season, while seven of Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team are in attendance.
Another major reason for the popularity of the 2016 Italian Open is the Golf Club Milano. The Monza course made a successful return to hosting duties last year and is back for another tilt. The tree lined, parkland course is the sort of place where hitting a high percentage of greens in regulation is a necessity. This high calibre field will rack up a huge number of birdies so it is vital for players to give themselves birdie putt after birdie putt. Although the trees are an obvious hazard, driving accuracy was not of huge importance last year so we may see the more powerful players taking more risks this time around. And, of course, whoever wins will have to make a lot of putts.
Kaymer Looking to Right Last Year’s Wrong
At one stage during the final round of last year’s tournament the bookies were very close to stopping taking bets on Martin Kaymer. The former world number one was running away with the tournament on Sunday but well and truly hit the buffers on the back nine. Three bogeys in four holes allowed Rikard Karlberg back in and the Swede eventually prevailed in a playoff.
This time around Kaymer and his caddie will be under no doubt about the importance of maintaining high levels of concentration. The German is playing some good golf at the moment and has been buoyed by his inclusion in the Ryder Cup so he can bounce back from last year’s upset to win at odds of 14/1 with BetVictor.
Flat Track Bully Levy Can Go Low
Alexander Levy did not have a great time at this event last year. The Frenchman made the cut but just could not manufacture enough birdie chances to worry the top of the leaderboard. That was strange for a player who is normally so good at taking advantage of easier courses. His two European Tour wins came with scores of -18 and -19 so he can clearly go low. If Levy gets it going this week he’ll look a steal at odds of 100/1 with Ladbrokes.
Olesen Out Of Nowhere
Thorbjorn Olesen is another talented European Tour star who is available at triple figures. The 26-year-old Dane has a strange knack of putting together four brilliant rounds despite being in poor form. He’s certainly struggling at the moment but after a break to rest he could just return in fine fettle. So, back Olesen each way at 100/ with Coral.