With 2 weeks to go until Padraig Harrington picks his wildcard picks the Italian Open takes place this week.The Ryder cup hopefuls looking to home in their games ready for the flagship event at Wentworth next week & get into Padraig’s thoughts. The 78th instalment of this event sees the Marco Simone course host for the 1st time since 1994 a swift 9 hours south of last week’s event in Switzerland. A €3Million purse will be up for grabs this week & double race to Dubai points which will be vital for some players who are looking to maintain their cards for next year. All the pressure will be on the Ryder cup hopefuls like Stenson, Molinari & Wiesberger this week which may suit the rest of the field as they will be playing without all the media hype & can sneak under the radar to take home the Italian Open.
The Marco Simone course takes centre stage this week for the 1st time since 1994 where Eduardo Romero won with a -16 score. The course is located 10miles outside of Rome in Guidonia & was designed by Jim Fazio & David Mezzacane. This is a par 71 course made up of 4 par 3s,11pars 3s & 3 par 5s. 2 of the par 5s are on the 9th & 18th so the 1st 2 rounds will both finish on a par 5 making for interesting viewing for leaders & players trying to make the cut. 7268 yards will make up the scorecard this week with the shortest hole measuring 145 & longest a whopping 626. The 2023 Ryder cup captain will be keeping a keen eye on events this week as this course will host the Ryder cup in 2023.
Bernd Wiesberger 20-1 7 Places PaddyPower
After his disappointing finish last week, he can still take the positives from a final round 65 & also 4 rounds in the 60s for the week. With a good week this week he can overtake Rory McIlroy in the euro points list to claim automatic 4th spot to ensure he is on the plane for the Ryder cup which he will be desperate to do. Bernd is ranked 1st in strokes gained tee to green with a green in regulation percentage of 72.08. He is also one of the best scramblers & sand save players ranking 9th & 14th so when he misses a green, he tends to still make his par & get up & down. There will be added pressure on him this week because of his finish last week & the fact he wants to be on team Europe in a few weeks’ time, but he has the mental strength to cope with this & have another solid week in the run up to the Ryder cup. Recent form reads 5-26-59-21-2
Henrik Stenson 30-1 7 Places Betfred
Henrik is putting himself directly in Padraig’s thoughts with his last 2 weeks work finishing 4th & 3rd & this week finishing with a 63 to post an early clubhouse number only to be beaten by 2 others. He was interviewed after his round saying how happy he was with his long game & hopes to take that into next week “We’ll take the positives once again and move on to Italy and hopefully we can keep on getting better.” His stats for the season aren’t for nice reading ranking 150+ in the majority but he does have one of the best driving accuracies with the trusty 3 wood with 58.38%. With 3 Ryder cup picks up for grabs & 2 apparently already locked in as all the pundits keep calling it, he will want to get himself on the plane to America with another good week this week. Recent form reads MC-MC-MC-4-3
Min Woo Lee 60-1 7 Places PaddyPower
The Scottish Open champion shot into the top 100 in the world after his win in Scotland, currently ranked 64th in the world he comes into the Italian Open off the back of a solid T21 finish in Switzerland. Min Woo is one of the biggest hitters on tour hitting the ball an average on 307.65 yards but with only 49.52% accuracy. He hits better than the average for greens in regulation with 66.11% but ranks level with the tour average for putting at 28.93 putts per round. Current form reads 17-1-MC-62-21
Marcel Siem 80-1 7 Places Betfred
Since his revival on the Challenge tour, he keeps going from strength to strength. A Fantastic Open championship amongst 2 more top 15 finishes he will look to go even better this week at the Italian Open. Marcel is a streaky putter that once he gets it hot, he tends to score well. He has a 67.9% of green in regulation stat which ranks better than the tour average. Marcel will be probably be driving to the event this week from Italy so he can go fishing in-between playing golf. He opened up in his recent player blog saying how much he has enjoyed driving to events from his Germany base. He drove all the way to Scotland for the Scottish Open all 12 hours of it. “I was due to fly to Scotland for the Scottish Open, I had a flight booked but just before I set off for the airport, I said forget it, I’m going to drive to Scotland and do it under my terms. It was only 12 hours, plus the following week was near London, so it was a lot more fun and made a lot of sense to me. I’m finding I am a lot less stressed when arriving at a venue as I feel I’ve got my home with me, just my wheels.” His demeanour on the course seems a lot better than previous years as well always celebrating the good shots passionately & laughing & joking with fellow pros. Recent form reads 15-56-21-12-7
Andrea Pavan 400-1 7 Places Betfred
Yes, this is not a joke. Andrea will play in front of a home crowd & which the Rome born Italian will relish after a year he will want to forget. Just 2 cuts made in the last year which were his last 2 starts so he is starting to get back to playing good golf. The 2-time European tour winner has shot 3 rounds in the 60s in his last 2 events which will give his much-needed confidence. He ranked T24 & T27 for most birdies made at these events so if he can keep the doubles off the card, I’m hopeful he can get back to his 2019 form. He is still even with the poor year he has had ranked as the 7th best putter on tour so if the driving & iron play behaves, he can certainly give his home event ago. Form is temporary & class is permanent. Recent form reads MC-Mc-MC-73-53
Good Luck with all Bets