Best bets for the DP World Tour Italian Open

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DS Automobiles Italian Open

Pablo Larrazabal, 80-1 pre-tournament, earned his eighth career DP World Tour victory, his third in the last 13 months, winning last weekend’s inaugural Korea Championship by two strokes over Marcus Helligkilde. Robert MacIntyre, one of our tips in last week’s column, was the 54-hole leader but settled for a T-7.

 

MacIntyre returns this week to Italy to defend his Italian Open title from last fall at 20-1. Nicolai Hojgaard, the man who won this tournament the year before MacIntyre in 2021, returns from several weeks on the PGA Tour as the tournament favorite at 16-1. Twin brother Rasmus Hojgaard (22-1) is in his third week back from an injury that forced him to miss three months earlier this year.

Adrian Meronk (22-1) was the runner-up here to Nicolai Hojgaard in 2021 but also missed the cut last year. Victor Perez (22-1), third last year, was a winner for us earlier this year in Abu Dhabi and would love to lock up a Ryder Cup spot and return to this golf course later this fall as a member of Team Europe.

Jordan Smith (25-1) and Thorbjorn Olesen (33-1), a winner for us earlier this season in Thailand, also aspire to improve their Ryder Cup standing.

At 35-1 are Antoine Rozner, who was the first-round leader last week in Korea, last week’s runner-up Helligkilde, and Jorge Campillo, who shot last Sunday’s low round of 65 to finish T-3 last week.

Yannik Paul (35-1), another one of last week’s tips, was the 36-hole leader in Korea before fading over the weekend. Joost Luiten (40-1) matched Campillo’s 65 last Sunday to also finish T-3 in Korea.

Guido Migliozzi (50-1) heads the Italian contingent attempting to win his home Open and become only the second Italian (Francesco Molinari in 2006 and 2016) in over 40 years to win.

The Event

​The Italian Open’s history dates to 1925. It is one of the few events to be on the European Tour schedule since the tour’s inception in 1972. The event did lose its Rolex Series status in 2021 because of COVID-19 rescheduling, so the field quality and prize money have declined. The event moves back to the spring portion of the calendar in 2023 and will return to Marco Simone for the third consecutive year. Marco Simone is also the host for the Ryder Cup this fall.

The Course

​Marco Simone Golf & Country Club (also known as Golf Marco Simone) is 10 miles from the center of Rome and features both an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole resort course. The golf club was named after the castle of Marco Simone. The castle was a Roman fortified manor farm. The tower was built approximately in the year 1000 and later in the Middle Ages additional buildings were built around it. By 1989 the golf course had been designed and built by Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane.

At 7,255 yards for a par-71, the track features three par-5s and four par-3s alongside the remaining par-4s. The closing hole is the longest on the course at 626 yards, however, organizers may choose to adjust the tee box to create more of a risk/reward finish to any given round and the par-4s are varied with four measuring below 400 yards, while another four top 475 yards.

This is not the typical tree-lined course in Italy, but there is plenty of water on the layout. The greens have also been re-laid with Creeping Bentgrass and players will be dealing with tricky and contoured putting surfaces.

Recent History/Winners

2022: Robert MacIntyre (-14/270); Marco Simone (Rome); 50-1*

2021: Nicolai Hojgaard (-13/271); Marco Simone (Rome); N/A**

2020: Ross McGowan (-20/268); Chervo (Pozzolengo); 750-1

2019: Bernd Wiesberger (-16/268); Olgiata GC (Rome); 35-1

2018: Thorbjorn Olesen (-22/262); Gardagolf CC (Brescia); 80-1

2017: Tyrrell Hatton (-21/263); GC Milano (Monza); 18-1

2016: Francesco Molinari (-22/262); GC Milano (Monza); 25-1

2015: Rikard Karlberg (-19/269); GC Milano (Monza); 70-1***

2014: Hennie Otto (-20/268); Circolo Golf Torino (Turin); 80-1

2013: Julien Quesne (-12/276); Circolo Golf Torino (Turin); 80-1

2012: Gonzalo Fdez-Castano(-24/264); Royal Park i Roveri (Turin); 40-1

2011: Robert Rock (-21/267); Royal Park I Roveri (Turin); 66-1

2010: Fredrik Andersson Hed (-16/268); Royal Park i Roveri (Turin); 66-1

Playoff win over Matt Fitzpatrick – *

Late invite into the field and had no odds price – **

Playoff win over Martin Kaymer – ***

Selections

Adrian Meronk (20-1, BetMGM)

Meronk was the runner-up here two years ago to Nicolai Hojgaard.

He was on the first page of the leaderboard last week in Korea heading into Sunday but never got going in the final round to finish T-21. However, he did rank second in the field for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee.

There are a few spots for Team Europe available for the Ryder Cup, which is being held at Marco Simone this fall. What better way to make an impression than to win on this course?

Thorbjorn Olesen (33-1, BetRivers)

Five years ago, Olesen’s Ryder Cup campaign was punctuated with a victory in this very event, and the Dane is looking to do the same thing this week.

Olesen has two victories and two runners-up for his career in Italy, so he clearly likes playing here.

"Thunderbear" ranks No. 1 on the DPWT for Total Strokes Gained, third for Strokes Gained: Approach, third for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and fifth for Greens In Regulation.

Jorge Campillo (35-1, Superbook Sports)

In his last four starts on the DP World Tour, Campillo has finished fourth, first, ninth and third and now he heads to the Italian Open, where he has seventh- and ninth-place finishes, with the latter coming at this course last year.

Adri Arnaus (45-1, DraftKings)

Arnaus has missed his past two cuts, but he was second at the SDC Championship three starts ago, and that adds to a sixth at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and a 13th at the Dubai Desert Classic. Add these finishes to his T-9 finish at the 2022 DP World Tour Championship, so he is not all that far removed from good form.

He was second after 36 holes on debut here in 2021 before finishing 12th.

The Spaniard was a two-time winner on the Alps Tour as well with both wins coming in Italy.

Scott Jamieson (70-1, Caesars Sportsbook)

Jamieson finished T-3 last week in Korea largely because of his short game, which was third for Strokes Gained Around The Green and eighth for Strokes Gained Putting.

The Scotsman finished eighth on debut here in 2021 and was 16th last year.

Andy Sullivan (100-1, BetMGM)

Sullivan was the first-round leader two weeks ago in Japan.

He also finished in the top 10 last week in Korea despite a second-round 75.

The Englishman has six top-25 or better finishes in his last 12 DPWT starts.

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