The European Tour heads to Italy this week for the Italian Open at the Chervo Golf Club, Brescia.
Another course making its European Tour debut, a few miles from Lake Garda, this par 72 course shouldn’t provide too many problems for the 114 competitors with plenty birdie and eagle opportunities on offer.
Bernd Wiesberger will be defending the title he won by a shot to Matthew Fitzpatrick at Olgiata Golf Club last year.
With conditions forecast as sunny for Thursday and Sunday with some mist and thunderstorms in between this should be a low scoring affair with big hitting and putting key to being amongst the birdie fest.
The Englishman was my selection at 12/1 each-way last weekend and although he finished 2nd, therefore collecting the place money, many including myself, will feel disappointed that he didn’t go on to win especially going into the final round at a best price 4/11 with a 3-shot advantage only to throw it all away to eventual winner Adrian Otaegui.
With so many unfamiliar names in the field this week again I’ll be looking for some value. For my first selection I am going to suggest Adri Arnaus at 25/1 (bet365).
The young Spaniard seems to be a good price to win his maiden title on the pro circuit. His friend and fellow compatriot flew the flag for Spain last week winning the Scottish Championship and maybe Arnaus can join him this week.
Arnaus is no stranger to winning an event on Italian soil and really seems to enjoy playing in this wonderful country I’ve visited on many occasions.
As an amateur he has won both the Villaverde Open at Udine and followed that up with The Alps Tour Grand final at Verbania. He will be returning to the same region where he won those events as a much better player .
Since turning pro Arnaus has finished runner up in three events; Kenya Open, Analucia Masters and Czech Masters, and more recently finished 3rd at the Dubai Desert Classic in January.
He'll win an event soon and it could well be this weekend he joins his best friend Jon Rahm as a Tour Champion with a winning scorecard.
Another I like the look of is Wilco Nienaber at 33/1 with bet365.
The South African is another youngster on the Tour that is a hard hitting powerful player who will definitely benefit from these open fairways and huge greens.
He was runner-up in a Sunshine Tour event in February, and since lockdown finished 4th at the English Championship and 6th in the Andalucia Masters.
This course is made for Nienaber and aslong as he can hold his nerve. He has to be respected and is another who can win a maiden title this weekend.
I’m going to stay closer to home and consider a local lad for my next selection; Renato Paratore at 33/1 (888sport).
He will definitely have the feel for this course having played it so many times and not only that he has some decent form to bring into this home event.
The British Masters Champion recorded a seventh place finish at Wentworth a couple of weeks ago so if he can combine his recent form with the home advantage then he must surely have his best ever chance to win in his homeland.
Bernd Wiesberger v Martin Kaymer
For my final selection I’m going to select a 72-hole match up between Bernd Wiesberger 1/1 (bet365) NAP v Martin Kaymer.
Wiesberger is the defending champion so knows what it feels like to win in Italy whereas Kaymer has missed the cut in five of his last eight events. Surely this Evens NAP must be the banker of the tournament.