European Tour Betting Preview: Italian Open
The Italian Open will be played at Olgiata Golf Club this year.
We have not seen this course in over a decade, so there is almost no relevant data for us to work on and no detailed course preview this week.
Last year, Thorbjorn Olesen won this event by one stroke over Francesco Molinari. The last time this event was played at this course, Ian Poulter won it, but that was 2002, and there isn’t a lot we can glean from that.
Course: Olgiata Golf Club
Yardage: 7,523 Yards
Recent Winners: Thorbjorn Olesen (2018), Tyrrell Hatton (2017), Francesco Molinari (2016)
So we don’t really know much about what will happen at this course this week having not seen it for 17 years, but the yardage jumps off the page. Over 7,500 yards for a Par 71 is very, very, very long, especially on the European Tour. This course will not be played at very high elevation either, so it’s going to play to the full yardage.
There are six par 4s this week that will play over 450 yards. Par 4 scoring will be at a premium this week and a stat I will be targeting with my picks. The course is relatively tree-lined meaning that players will need to be long and find fairways because missing fairways could result in punch outs. The course features a couple trees in fairways as well -- on the 3rd, 5th, and 11th -- adding another data point for off-the-tee play being key.
Matt Wallace: Matt Wallace is a winner, with 4 European Tour victories over the last 30 months. His last win came over a year ago now though, and it’s not because he’s struggling: he just has been racking up close calls having five top-3 finishes this year. He is a premiere player on the European Tour and should be a Ryder Cupper a year from now. This feels like the perfect place for Wallace to get back in the winner's circle. Wallace is 25th in driving distance on the European Tour, 48th in strokes gained: off the tee, and 11th in par 4 scoring. He’s coming in with solid form with two top-15 finishes in the last month. The odds are sleeping on him a bit as well, but I am not.
Bet: To Win (+2200 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Thomas Pieters: This is a big boy course, and that will not scare Pieters one bit. The guy is having a great year and a really solid stretch going back to his win at the Czech Masters two months ago. If Pieters can drive the ball like he’s shown this year, he should have a huge edge on the field. Pieters is 9th in driving distance and 12th in strokes gained: off the tee proving that he can hit it long and put himself in positions to score. With the Ryder Cup a year out, I’m sure Pieters is looking to plant himself at the top of the European Team rankings so that he doesn’t miss out like he did last year in Paris.
Bet: To Win (+3400)
Jason Scrivener: Scrivener is an elite par 4 player, ranking 16th on the European Tour this year. He is not an extremely long player, ranking outside the top-100 in driving distance on the European Tour this year, but he ranks in the top-50 in driving accuracy. So -- while he may not be gaining yards on the field -- he should be hitting approach shots from the short grass, which helps a lot. He is coming off a T7 last week at the Spanish Open, so the form is good.
Bet: Top-10 (+1000)
Sam Horsfield: Sam Horsfield is coming in with stellar form, having made seven straight cuts since the Euro Tour restarted post-British Open back at the Czech Masters in mid-August. He took last week off, which is promising because he had played every single week from mid-August through the Alfred Dunhill Links, so the time off should be able to refuel him for this week’s event. He ranks 17th on the European Tour in par 4 scoring as well, which will suit him well this week. I don’t love him to win, as he hasn’t shown winning chops yet, but his consistent play is something to jump on.
Bets: Top-10 (+700), Top-20 (+310)
Benjamin Hebert: Hebert is one of the few players that we have good “course history” on here. He played twice in Challenge Tour events at this course and finished third and sixth which means something. As not many players have seen this course Hebert should have an edge on the field and feel comfortable with his successes at the course.
Bet: Top-20 (+470)
Tapio Pulkkanen: Tapio is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour, ranking seventh in driving distance. He is also one of the players who has seen this course before on Challenge Tour back in 2014, so he has that edge on the field. A few weeks ago, he had a really good finish at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, which is somewhat of a comparison for the course we’ll see this week and shows his form coming in is solid. He’s a very volatile player but has played well his last couple events and this course should suit him. He’s worth a small flyer bet.
Bet: Top-20 (+900)