Ryder Cup-Chasing Gallagher The One To Back
The European Tour moves to Turin, Italy as some Ryder Cup hopefuls look to secure their place on the team.
The Italian Open 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, from late September to late August, 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 a fairly weak field this week.
After successfully hosting the 2013 edition, the Golf Club Torino has again been chosen to stage this tournament. It’s a picturesque parkland course, laid out amongst ancient oak woodland, with a proliferation of water hazards. There are a few minor undulations but it is essentially flat and players who keep it straight from the tee will find this one of the easier European courses.
In The Bunker
Francesco Molinari tops the betting this week, but I think the market has identified the wrong Molinari. Francesco picked up his maiden European Tour win in this event, back in 2006 and has managed three top ten finishes in Italy since then, but his form this summer has been ordinary. In fact, he’s only managed two top tens all season. At odds of 11/1 he is a poor value antepost favourite.
Stephen Gallacher is the only man in the field for the Italian Open with a chance of earning a Ryder Cup spot.
He is currently eleventh on the World Points list and a win or a second place would be enough to get him to Gleneagles.
He hasn’t played this course before, but it shouldn’t present too many problems, and as Jamie Donaldson showed last week, a Ryder Cup spot can be a powerful motivating factor. Back the Scot for victory at 18/1.
Francesco’s older brother Edoardo is available at a bigger price than his sibling and makes more appeal as a result. He hasn’t picked up a trophy this season, but he has shown signs of his best form in finishing second at the Irish Open, then cracking the top ten at the British Open, his best ever performance in a Major.
He doesn’t have a great record in this event, but is yet to play at the Golf Club Torino and is worth giving another chance to become the second Molinari to lift this trophy.
The other Italian to add to your shortlist is Matteo Manassero. He hasn’t had a good season, and you have to overlook his two recent missed cuts on the other side of the Atlantic, but hopefully the return to home soil will see him return to the form that earned him a top five finish at the Scottish Open and helped him crack the top twenty at the British Open.
Back him to return to winning form at 22/1.