- Full preview of the Italian Open with The Golf Insider
- Four value picks, ranging from $26 to $81 in the market
This week’s golf action kicks off in Rome with the Italian Open, while in the States the next lay-over on the PGA Tour is the Houston Open.
Here’s a full preview of the action from the “Eternal City”…
First played in 1925, the Italian Open has been a regular feature on the European Tour since 1972. It has attracted solid if unspectacular fields for the most part as it has tended to wander around the annual schedule – this year finding itself in October. But the steady rise of the profile of Italian golfers on the world stage has always kept it on the radar, and the typically warm conditions and exotic venues have made it an enjoyable stop-off for the players.
This year we’re in the nation’s capital, Rome, at the Olgiata Golf Course – which last hosted the event in 2002. It plays as a par 71, spread out over lengthy 7,523 yards and has undergone a recent update under the eye of course architect Jim Fazio (mainly adding length). The venue is a typical parkland set-up, with tree-lined fairways and several water hazards/features which will be a decent test for the players.
262: Francesco Molinari (2016) and Thorbjorn Olesen (2018)
2018: Thorbjorn Olesen (2018)
2017: Tyrrell Hatton (2017)
2016: Francesco Molinari (2016)
2015: Rikard Karlberg (2015)
2014: Hennie Otto (2014).
A pretty decent line-up has headed for Italy this week. Paul Casey is the $10 market leader with BetEasy.
A dry week is forecast. Light cloud most days but the temperatures will hit the mid 70s (low to mid 20s in celsius). There’s very little chance of any rain at all, and wind speeds with be little more than a cooling breeze at 5-7mph. Pretty much ideal conditions.
My value picks
Adri Arnaus (currently $51 with BetEasy)
Arnaus is a quality young player who thrives on tight tree-lined courses because he’s such a great driver of the ball. Arnaus has five Top 6 finishes this season and all, bar one, have come on courses where great driving is crucial. These include the Kenyan Open, Crans-Sur-Sierre, Valderrama and last week’s Open de Espana. This week’s test looks similar in that the fairways are lined with tall trees either side, and total driving looks to be key. Arnaus is long and straight off the tee, and has plenty of great form playing in Italy – even if this form was in a lot weaker fields. He won twice in Italy on the Alps Tour in 2017 and will definitely feel comfortable this week. He looks an obvious play at odds of $51 given his current form and liking for this type of course.
Guido Migliozzi (currently $81 with BetEasy)
Migliozzi has been superb since joining the European Tour from the Alps Tour and he already has two titles to his name. He won the Kenya Open on a tight tree-lined course, before winning the Belgian Knockout a few months later. This season he ranks seventh in Strokes Gained: Approach and fith in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green which is mighty impressive for a rookie. He, like Wallace and Arnaus, was a serial winner on the Alps Tour and won three times in Italy between 2017 and 2018. Migliozzi is an auto-play this week given how strong he is tee-to-green, coupled with how well he has played in Italy in the past. Anything above $67 looks great value.
Matt Wallace (currently $26 with BetEasy)
Much like Arnaus and Migliozzi, Wallace has winning form in Italy (on the Alps Tour) and is a very accomplished operator these days, well-suited to this week’s conditions. He’s a very solid ball-striker and as a multiple winner on the European Tour in 2018 – no less than three times – his winning pedigree is a given. Winless in 2019, but if anything Wallace has suffered from last year’s success in not concentrating as much on regular events, but setting his sights on bigger, and harder to win, tournaments – and let’s not forget his high finishes in both the USPGA and US Open. He’ll certainly be hungry for a win before the year is out and a recent Top 20 at the Alfred Dunhill, rounding off with a last round 65, will give him plenty of confidence in Rome. In a competitive front end to the market he looks the pick to me.
Lee Westwood (currently $67 with BetEasy)
“Westwood missed the cut on his last outing at the Alfred Dunhill Links but he ranked sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach and eleventh in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. Therefore I’m happy that Westwood’s game is in great shape, despite the run of missed cuts, and it’s this tee-to-green supremacy that will be the most important stat this week on a relatively tough course. Westwood thrives on this type of layout where hitting Greens-In-Regulation is key. He finished fifth at the Italian Open last year, and if he continues to strike the ball like he did in Scotland any upturn in putting could seem him contend this week. He looks to have been totally overlooked by the layers this week and I’m more than happy to get him onside at a generous price.”