THIS week the Italian Open returns to Gardagolf Country Club after a break of 15 years.
East of Milan and close to Lake Garda, in the province of Brescia, it's the home course of Matteo Manassero.
The course this week is a composite taken from 27 scenic holes on the complex, nine from the White Course and nine from the Red
It is also the club where apart from Manassero, Nino Bertasio honed his skills. Six of the holes will have water coming into play in the tree-lined course with the tournament being the second of seven in the lucrative Rolex Series.
- Course: Gardagolf Country Club, Brescia, Italy, 7201 yards, Par 71.
Lucas is in a rich vein of form with finishes of 6-5-3 and looked really good last week at Wentworth. He won the Portugal Open last year and it was thought he would consolidate that form.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen and this year he has struggled but at the Volvo China Open it seemed to come together and a sixth-place finished was followed by fifth at the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.
At the Sicilian he had four sub-70 rounds and although he hit a 73 in the second round at the BMW PGA Championship he also had two scores of 65. Looks to have regained some form and could again do well this week.
- Par-five scoring: 4.58 (54th). Putting average: 29.9 (173rd).
The Swede is sitting 15th in the Ryder Cup standings and will be desperate to collect more points in his quest to be included in the Ryder Cup team.
His form this season isn’t too bad with three top-six finishes and a win at the Volvo China Open last month. Last week a T27 finish was steady but on his two visits to Wentworth he has only hit one sub-70 round so maybe the Wentworth course doesn’t suit him.
However, a final-round 65 saw him overtake Spaniard Adrian Otaegui to win by one shot. Could certainly be a contender here this weekend.
- Par-five scoring: 4.6 (74th). Putting average: 28.5 (22nd).
I was going to leave out Noren as his price is quite short but his displays on the PGA Tour and last weekend at Wentworth make it hard to omit him.
As I said he is playing the PGA Tour this year and when he comes back to the European Tour you have to take notice, just look at Francesco Molinari last week.
With three top fives in America his form is solid and I have no hesitation in picking him this week. He is sitting eighth in the Ryder Cup standings but will be trying to build up his points and a win this week will go a long way to him making the team.
- 1.5pts ew Lucas Bjerregaard (40-1, Coral) – 7 places
- 1.5pts ew Alexander Bjork (50-1, Coral) – 7 places
- 1.5pts ew Alex Noren (10-1, Paddy Power) – 7 places
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