Italian Open Preview & Betting Tips8 min read
The fifth Rolex Series event of the European Tour season takes place this week with a strong field competing at the Italian Open.
Olgiata Golf Club will host the tournament for the first time since 2002 and is a classic tree-lined parkland course that shares some similarities with Wentworth. The par 71 course has been lengthened to 7,523 yards and strong ball striking will be required with an emphasis on hitting plenty of greens in regulation.
Paul Casey is the 8/1 favourite and is followed by Justin Rose at 11/1. Casey has won twice this year so is respected but looks short enough on his first start in Italy, while Rose has not been at his best recently. Home favourite Francesco Molinari is 16/1 and has an excellent home record but his ball striking has lacked the consistency of his phenomenal 2018 season.
Fitzpatrick can complete Italian job
Matt Fitzpatrick is one of the few players in the field with positive course form and could go close to landing his first Rolex Series title. Fitzpatrick finished seventh during the Challenge Tour event five years ago and has other encouraging form in the country. The accurate English golfer was third at the 2015 Italian Open and has since recorded three top 30s at the tournament.
Fitzpatrick, a five-time European Tour champion which includes a win at tree-lined Woburn, is determined to continue his record of winning each year. The 25-year-old has come extremely close already this season, finishing runner-up at the Hong Kong Open, BMW International Open and Scandinavian Invitation in August. A tie for 26th at the Alfred Dunhill Links was a solid effort on his last outing and he is ranked second for stroke average this year. Fitzpatrick can land an overdue victory at 25/1.
Matt Wallace has excelled in Italy throughout his career and the confident Englishman is backed to contend this week just outside Rome. Wallace started off on the Alps Tour and was prolific as he won six times in 2016, including three victories in Italy. His comfort level in the country was highlighted again after taking fourth place at the 2017 Italian Open.
Wallace has demonstrated a natural ability to win tournaments with four European Tour titles, including three last year. The 29-year-old is hungry for more success and will be determined to ensure he claims more silverware before the end of this season. He finished third at the KLM Open last month, before an encouraging tie for 15th at the Dunhill Links. Wallace looks poised for more success in Italy at appealing odds of 25/1 each way.
Poulter returns to scene of triumph
Ian Poulter lifted the title the last time this event took place at Olgiata and a repeat should not be ruled out this weekend. Poulter shot an opening round of 61 at the course on his way to the title 17 years ago and was also the Italian Open champion in 2000 – his first European Tour victory. This event clearly carries great significance for the fiery Englishman and it is worth noting he has opted to compete here this week rather than defend his PGA Tour title at the Houston Open.
Poulter has won 12 times on the European Tour and the 43-year-old still believes he can be a factor in the biggest tournaments. He was third at this year’s WGC Mexico Championship and eighth at this summer’s FedEx St Jude Invitational in world-class fields. The Ryder Cup legend will have his sights on qualifying for the European team and early points will be on his mind this week at such a suitable venue. Poulter, who is eighth for greens in regulation this season, could threaten a third Italian Open title at 35/1 each way.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout has excelled on the European Tour this year with his breakthrough victory and another success could be heading his way. The sweet-swinging South African was hugely impressive as he swept to a six-shot win at Valderrama in June at another tricky tree-lined course. Third last month at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Bezuidenhout clearly relishes this type of track.
Bezuidenhout has long been touted as one of South Africa’s most promising young players and at the age of 25, he is now doing justice to his undoubted talent. He was second at the Qatar Masters this year, fourth at the Indian Open and third at the BMW International Open in Germany. Bezuidenhout should take a liking to Olgiata on his first visit and looks a strong each-way bet at 50/1.
Guido Migliozzi has been a revelation with two wins in his first season on the European Tour, and the Italian could challenge for a third title on home soil this week. Migliozzi got off the mark with an impressive win at the Kenya Open in March at a fiddly tree-lined layout. He proved this was no one-off after victory at the Belgian Knockout and has shown immense composure in contention.
Migliozzi won three times on the Alps Tour, with all of them coming in Italy, which suggests he can be a factor at Olgiata. The confident 22-year-old was seventh last month at the Porsche European Open and his strong long game should be well suited to this course. Migliozzi, who is ranked seventh for strokes gained on approach this season, can delight the home fans with a big performance at 70/1 each way.
Matt Fitzpatrick Each Way
Matt Wallace Each Way
Ian Poulter Each Way
Christiaan Bezuidenhout Each Way
Guido Migliozzi Each Way