Monday, 14 September 2015

Open d'Italia 2015 - Milano GC

The Europeantour heads to Milan this week and a revisit to Milano GC for the first time since 1990, where Sky Sports golf commentator, Richard Boxall saw off a class field to win his one and only tour title with a -22 score, helped by opening rounds of 65 & 64. Its a fairly decent field too this week where players are fighting for cards, R2D rankings and Ryder Cup points. Martin Kaymer, who disappointed hugely in Holland last week will no doubt head the betting but based on last week's effort it may pay to look elsewhere. Francesco Molinari will also be towards the head of the market here and carries the hopes for a home win. Kaymer, despite a poor showing last week should NOT be behind Danny Willett in the market though, but all three are far too short here.The tourney may not come quick enough for some though, especially the likes of Eddie Pepperell, Soren Kjeldsen, Tyrell Hatton and Kristoffer Broberg to mention a handful in fine form. With this and five other events left before the Final Series kicks off in Turkey at the end of October, those in form will be all out to grab as much R2D points and cash as possible and see where it leaves them in the Ryder Cup standings. Matt Fitzpatrick, Eddie Pepperell, Tyrell Hatton are just three players that I fancy to make a challenge for a place and who's to say that Thomas Pieters won't win more between now and Hazeltine next year. With Lee Westwood, martin Kaymer and indeed Padraig Harrington looking like they will be playing more on the European Tour next season, the race for those elusive points could be quite interesting and whatever the outcome, skipper, Darren Clarke should at least have an in-form team to defend the trophy. So, that's my reference to the Ryder Cup qualification out of the way on here but be prepared to hear it every week on the TV commentaries !

Thomas Pieters grabbed his second win on tour to make it back to back wins last week, emphasizing how current form and confidence are key to succeeding more so than over previous course form. Lee Slattery backed that up last week when he chased home the Belgian having won the previous week in Moscow! 

With the majority of the field playing here for the first time, apart from local pro, Marco Crespi, it's the current form we should assess before finalizing our shortlist. From Marco's hole-by-hole account of Milano GC on the Europeantour website, we can assume that those that are accurate off the tee with a solid approach game will fare better than than the longer drivers. Matt Fitzpatrick jumps off the page for this one with his straight game and he has been in equal fine form of late if not spectacular at Kennemer last Saturday when he came agonizingly close to a 59! That kind of form should prove dividends and it was understandable to see him fade on Sunday to a 30th placing. However, the young Englishman who turned just 21 last week, was third in Prague and second in Crans last month and should find this course to his liking. He will be buoyed by the Walker Cup win by the GB&I team last weekend also, an event he played in two years ago having taken 3/4 points. He's in form on a course that should suit him and he is my headline pick this week.

I've been keeping an eye on another young Englishman of late in the form of Ben Evans. Ben, from East Sussex is a big but very accurate driver off the tee and is another finding form at the business end of the season. Twelfth and eighth in his last two starts in Holland and Russia came on the back of two cuts made in Czech Republic and Denmark. His accurate play served him well at the Trophee Hassan tournament back in March when finishing tied ninth. His accuracy also produced the goods in India finishing twelfth. From his fifteen starts this season, Ben has made ten cuts, finishing TOP20 on five occasions.  He is currently ranked 127 on the tour so he'll be keen to keep the form up to retain his card for next season. A TOP10 finish here can see him make big in roads to securing that elusive card and that's his incentive for the week as he returns to Italy having won his first professional event on the Alps Tour in Sardinia back in October 2013.

Lastly, I'm delighted that my local neighbour from Portrane, Co. Dublin gets his first start as a professional this week having joined Chubby Chandler's management group following his triumphant Walker Cup win the weekend. Gavin Moynihan has had a brilliant amateur career, having won the Irish Amateur twice (was also beaten in a playoff in between the two wins), the Scottish Amateur, the Peter McEvoy Trophy, and was runner up at the European Amateur this year as well as reaching the last 16 of the Amateur Championship. He also chased home Cormac Sharvin at The Brabazon. He could have been disappointed to end such a terrific amateur career when being trounced by Bryson Dechambeau 6&5 in the singles on Sunday, but the party that ensued afterwards and the excitement of what lies ahead I'm sure will have quashed that feeling pretty quickly! Playing from The Island GC in Donabate, Moynihan will be strongest on tricky, "finicky" tracks and especially in windy conditions and I'll be hoping he can make it on to the tour soon. He goes to Q-school at the Ribagolfe GC at the end of September and can get himself in the mood by putting up a bold showing here this week. He'll be on betting slip every week going forward

I was very tempted by Wade Ormsby's chances here but have decided to leave him be (100/1) and I was also tempted by Eduardo De La Riva (100/1) from this weeks shortlist. Fabrizio Zanotti was TOP5 last week in Holland after a nice break and Milano GC will be a good suit. Alejandro Canizares will try and emulate his father by winning a European Tour title on the same course and arrives on the back of his second successive TOP20 at Kennemer whilst the two Frenchmen on the list will make up my R2D fantasy team.

Staking Plan

2 pt e/w M.Fitzpatrick @ 28/1
0.5 pts e/w B.Evans @ 175/1
0.5 pts e/w G.Moynihan @ 300/1

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