Pepperell Has Italian Recipe For Success
The Open d’Italia was first played in 1925 and was one of the founding events on the European Tour’s first schedule in 1972.
It has been moved again this year, back to its regular slot in September, but the relatively small prize fund on offer, combined with the fact that the world’s best are engaged across the Atlantic in the Fed Ex Cup play-offs, means that we’re looking at a fairly weak field this week.
This will be the seventh time that the Golf Club Milano in Monza has hosted the Italian Open, but the first since 1990, so it will be unfamiliar to this year’s field. It’s a flat parkland layout with generous fairways and at just under 7200 yards isn’t too demanding in terms of distance from the tee. The greens are fast and true, and shouldn’t present too much of a challenge.
In The Bunker
This was the tournament that gave Francesco Molinari his debut Tour win in 2006, as well as three other top-ten finishes, and it is no surprise to see him topping the antepost betting this week. But it’s worth remembering that he was the market leader last year at a similar price and didn’t justify the odds. He was last seen missing the cut at the PGA Championship and he’s only managed one top ten finish since May. At 12/1 he looks a little short and is best opposed.
With many of those at the top of the market out of form, it’s worth looking further down the list and at 22/1, Eddie Pepperell is a solid bet.
He recovered from missing the cut at the PGA Championship to make the top twenty-five at the Czech Masters and then finished with a 64 to finish fifth at the KLM Open, his fourth top-five result of the season.
Back him to win his second Tour title.
Like Pepperell, Soren Kjeldsen had a poor PGA Championship but has been in good form since. He was runner up at the Made In Denmark and made the top fifteen at the KLM Open last week, after a blistering start in which he recorded consecutive rounds of 64 on Thursday and Friday. If he can reproduce that kind of form, he could be hard to catch and he offers plenty of value at odds of 28/1.
The final name for the shortlist is Rafael Cabrera-Bello. He struggled throughout the first half of 2015, but found some form in the summer and has recorded four top tens in his last nine tournaments, including a seventh-placed finish at the KLM Open last week, where he shot a superb third round 63. His best effort in this event so far came in 2012, when he finished nineteenth, but in his current form he can improve significantly on that showing, and is worth a look at 28/1.
*Prices correct at time of publication