As the FedEx Cup playoffs move ever closer to their final event the European Tour is starting to ramp up ahead of its own finals series, the Race to Dubai. The strength of the fields have steadily been improving and that is certainly the case for the Open d’Italia this week. The Tour’s best players have begun to trickle over from America as they need to both discover their best form and make sure that they play enough events to qualify for the finals events.
The Golf Club Milano is the host venue of the Open d’Italia for the first time since 1990. That means that a number of those taking place have been in Milan for a number of days already as they try to play enough practice rounds to ensure they feel familiar enough with the course to have a good chance. Those who have never played here before will find a very tight tree-lined course with some incredibly difficult tee shots which require threading the ball through some ludicrously narrow gaps. The par 72 track plays at almost 7,200 yards. There are holes where the longer hitters will have an edge but in the main it is all about staying out of trouble here and putting the ball in the right parts of the greens.
The bookies’ favourite for this week is also the home favourite, Francesco Molinari. Statistically there isn’t a more accurate driver of the golf ball in the game so he won’t be phased by even the most daunting of driving holes. In 2006 Molinari won his home
Open for the first (and so far only) time but, cheered on by the passionate galleries, he’ll have more than enough positivity to add to his tally of three wins on the European Tour. As well as finding the fairway more often than not, Molinari is excellent at hitting greens in regulation but he will need a good week with the putter to come home at 14/1 with Betfred.
Matthew Fitzpatrick is looking very close to securing his first win on the European Tour. The young Englishman has got four top 10 finishes since May as he has combined his very good ability off the tee with a solid short game. His ability to put the ball on the greens always serves him well and as long as he keeps his ball out of trouble he’ll once again be there or thereabouts. The bookies clearly feel he’s got a good chance but the 25/1 that Bet365 are offering looks a good price.
Ben Evans has had some very good results in the past few weeks. The Englishman is not exactly a household name but he’s finished in the top 12 positions in the last two weeks and although the field has improved this week he has the game to keep that sort of form going in Milan. Evans is one of the biggest hitters out there this week so if he makes sure that he doesn’t put himself in any trouble he can take advantage of hitting shorter irons into the greens than most. At 175/1 with Bet365, Evans looks like a great outside bet at each-way terms.