PGA Tips: BMW Italian Open
European captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, will also be competing on the Royal Park I Roveri, alongside his two vice captains Paul McGinley and Miguel Angel Jiminez as they seek to get a closer look at their players in action.
The 7,282-yard layout doesn’t require massive length off the tee and good ball strikers who hit plenty of greens have done well in the past.
Weather reports from Italy suggest it’s been a beautiful weekend but storms are forecast in the run-up to Thursday’s first round, which could saturate this par 72 layout and hand the advantage to longer hitters.
In the past, distance off the tee has proven something of an asset given four lengthy par-fives, but typically winners have been those who’ve hit plenty of greens and putted well once on the large, undulating surfaces.
Francesco Molinari already has one European Tour title under his belt already this season and would love to win his home Open again. His driving accuracy currently places him 23rd and he is up to second on tour in terms of his greens in regulation percentage. The Italian would love to sign off with a home win and is +850 favourite.
Another native, Matteo Manassero, is competing in his third Italian Open despite not yet leaving his teenage years. He is available at +2800 to win this weekend and should be better prepared to handle the pressure of playing at your home Open. The 19-year-old is the youngest ever European Tour winner, but has struggled to replicate that form this year.
We backed Thorbjorn Olesen in our last betting preview and with the Dane returning to Italy we’d be foolish not to back him again. He opened with a 65 on this course last year, and was in contention up until a bogey on the par-five 11th derailed him and he took second place behind Robert Rock. Olesen has a clear affinity with Italy; he shot -15 en route to winning the Sicilian Open, and is now on the radars of bookmakers. +2500 with Sports Interaction is a very handy price though.
Nicolas Colsaerts is the longest hitters on tour over the last 18 months and Olazabal confirmed that he had been selected for the Ryder Cup team based largely upon his driving ability. He is +1150 to win this weekend and if the heavy rain that is forecast does soak into the fairways the extra distance that Colsaerts can generate will be key. Five top 20 finishes in his last eight starts hint that he is in the right form to win here.
There are four major winners in this year’s field; Jose Maria Olazabal, Martin Kaymer, Todd Hamilton and Rich Beem, but it is Kaymer who will be most desperately looking for an upsurge in form and results before heading over to the US. He is +2200 to win the Italian Open and shot a 65 and a 68 on the way to T21 last week at the KLM Open which should give him the confidence he needs.
Read our PGA Championship guide: 2012 PGA Championship betting