Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Rocco Forte Open - Verdura Sicily

A slightly "better" field than last week's affair in Portugal move onto Sicily this week for the new Rocco Forte Open to be played at the Kyle Phillips designed Verdura Golf Resort, which hosted the Sicilian Open back in 2012. A picturesque golf course overlooking the Mediterranean Sea has brought a lot of admiration from those attending this if going by all the social media awash with photos and general high praise of the resort. The resort boasts two courses, from which a composite 18 holes will make up this week's Championship course. With just one years course history to go on, we need to factor in what type of player Verdura is most likely to suit and identify if any players have the pedigree to match it or indeed possess form on a Kyle Phillips design.

This blog backed Nicolas Colsaerts to win here back in 2012; he finished 3rd and he immediately jumps off the page again this week @ 35/1. The Belgian has solid form on links courses for which this week's course shares similar traits. Throw in Hilvershume GC in Holland, a Kyle Phillips course that hosted the KLM Open from 2010 to 2012 where he produced two TOP10s to complement decent efforts at The Alfred Dunhill Championships where another Phillips designed course, Kingsbarns, features, then he's bound to be excited to be returning here. He spends quite a bit of time in Mauritius too and practices on windy coastal courses, so he should be comfortable this week despite a loss of form of late where he's just 4/8 events with best finish a 28th in Qatar (windy coastal course). 39th and 42nd in Shenzhen & Beijing last month is encouraging ahead of his return to Sicily this week.

I'm going "third time lucky" with James Morrison here having backed him twice in April in Morocco and Shezhen where he finished 13th & 29th respectively. On both occasions he sat prominently on the leaderboard through 36 holes before slipping back each weekend. It's easy to drop him based on a non-return but he too has shown some solid form on links/windy courses that can't be ignored. Whether he's actually value in the betting can be argued, but I am finding it hard to leave him out even @  22/1. He's 8/9 this season producing 5 TOP20s (2*T10s), arrives fresh and can continue solid recent form with another bold showing here.

1.50 pts e/w N. Colsaerts @ 36.00
1.50 pts e/w J. Morrison  @ 23.00

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