Paddy’s paying 8 places and Paul Casey @ 9/1 heads the market from Justin Rose as The Italian Open returns to the Olgiata GC in Rome, for the first time since 2002.
After some course alterations the players will be greeted by a par 71, measuring 7,523 yards if it plays to its full length. A tree-lined, parkland track with a little bit of room off the tee.
The course’s main defence is likely to be it’s small, undulating greens.
Casey, despite excelling in victory recently at the Porsche European Open, is not a player I would rush to back at single-figure odds based on his overall record in contention. And Rose has not been firing on all cylinders of late.
Instead we’ll start this week’s team with the man who sits third in the market, home favourite, Francesco Molinari @ 14/1.
Molinari has twice hoisted his national open title, so is proven on home soil and finished 23rd here back in 2002. The former Open Champion has shown signs of a return to form over his last two starts, and on a venue that should suit his game down to a tee. he is fancied to add a third Italian Open title to his collection.
We saw the Spanish contingent rise to the occasion at home last week and I am keen to add another Italian, Guido Migliozzi @ 66/1 to our team.
Like last week’s successful pick Adri Arnaus, Migliozzi arrives at his home Open on the back of a couple of missed cuts,
However, he also strikes me as the sort of player who will be inspired when playing in front of his home fans.
The 22-year-old has already lifted two trophy’s on the European Tour this season, in Kenya and Belgium, and both victories came on parkland courses not too dissimilar to this week.
At 66/1 – he looks a play each-way.
To complete our team, I’ll include Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston @ 80/1 and Shubhankar Sharma @175/1.
Both men missed the cut on their most recent outing at the Dunhill Links, however form at a three-course, links-based, Pro-Am is largely irrelevant to a parkland test. What catches my eye is their form at Wentworth – a far more comparable test.
Johnston finished ninth in Surrey that week on the back of some solid form in his previous two starts, while Sharma was right in the hunt going in to the final round and is showing signs of returning to the sort of form, which has seen him land two European Tour titles in his career already.
Paddy’s also paying 8 places at the Houston Open before tee-off where the 7,440 yard par 72, Golf Club of Houston makes its swansong in a new Autumn slot, before the event moves to a new venue next year.
I’ll opt for just two here in course form pony Russell Henley @ 22/1 and Beau Hossler @ 40/1.
Henley has been playing much more solidly of late and boasts incredible form figures at the venue, which have seen him win and finish nothing worse than eighth in his past five visits. Meanwhile, Hossler who went to college in Texas came agonisingly close to lifting the trophy here last year and is fancied on the back of a decent showing in Vegas to make another bold run at the title this week.
*Prices correct at time of publishing