The European Tour continues this week with the Italian Open at Marco Simone Golf Club, Guidonia, Rome.
The 156 field will all be competing for the title and the €3M purse with the winner collecting €484,990.
The Italian Open will be held here in Rome for the first time since 1994. This stunning par 71 parkland course will have the world watching when it hosts the Ryder Cup in 2023.
Ross McGowan returns to defend his title and is as big as 200/1 with some firms to successfully defend his crown.
The weather is forecast to be sunny and warm throughout with just the slight chance of a passing thunderstorm.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf with live coverage starting at 12.30pm GMT on Thursday.
I’ve already posted a preview for the grand finale of the FedEx Cup play offs in Atlanta this week. On the European Tour last week my selection Calum Hill just managed to get in the each way places finishing T7th at the Omega European Masters but the Nap of the Tournament won easily with Martin Kaymer beating Henrik Stenson in the 72 hole matchbet.
It rounded off what was yet another profitable weekend with Patrick Cantlay winning the BMW Championship, advised at 25/1 here at MFT and also the other matchbet Nap landed comfortably again with Tony Finau beating Louis Oosthuizen.
Well done to everyone who collected, it’s what makes this all worthwhile, just so happy I can contribute.
So let’s move on with this weeks Italian Open selections.
For my first and main pick this week in Italy I’m going to single out a player I’ve tipped before and he never let us down on that occasion Garrick Higgo 33/1 EW Bet365.
The young, talented 22yr old South African from Johannesburg is much higher up the world rankings than most of his competitors here, currently ranked 43rd in the world.
The main reason for this are his victories on both the PGA and European Tours this year. He won his maiden PGA Tour Title when winning the Palmetto Championship and also broke his duck on the European Tour when winning the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, then went one better and followed that up with the Canary Islands Championship where I tipped him to win at 16/1.
It’s probably fair to say that Higgo’s form hasn’t been all that impressive since winning the Palmetto Championship but the drop down in company should enhance his chances once again.
In my opinion he is head and shoulders above most in this field so I’m suggesting Garrick Higgo can get back to winning ways this weekend and if not winning then certainly up there competing at the Italian Open so looks good each way value.
For my next selection I’m going to advise our very own Calum Hill 33/1 EW Bet365.
As you all know the man from Kirkcaldy in the Kingdom of Fife has been all over my radar recently on the European Tour.
The young 26yr old Scot has been on fire, especially the past few weeks when I tipped him to win that elusive maiden European crown at 28/1 and he duly obliged winning the Cazoo Classic just a fortnight ago.
In his last three events he has been nothing short of spectacular; T7th last week at the Omega European Masters, Winner the week before at the Cazoo Classic as mentioned above and T4th at the Hero Open the previous week.
These performances have seen Hill now rise into the Top 100 of the world's golfing elite and he will continue to rise through the ranks. He’s going to be a Top 10 player and there has to be a Major in there somewhere for the talented Scot.
Again at 33/1, I think this represents tremendous each way value so I’m not leaving Calum Hill out of of my selections yet again this week.
For my next suggestion I’m going to look for some good old value and for that reason I’m going to point you in the direction of Laurie Canter 80/1 EW (1-7 places Betfair).
The 31yr old Englishman from Bath was runner up at this event last year, only beaten by a single shot to eventual winner Ross McGowan. Have the firms forgotten this? I’m certainly not complaining with 80/1 on offer.
Canter has yet to win on the European Tour but has come close on more than a few occasions. Runner-up at this event last year and also an unlucky 2nd at the Portugal Masters, I still think he has it in him to win that Elusive European Title and it he could well go close again this weekend.
His form this year to be fair hasn’t been spectacular with 8th at The Made in Himmerland being his best finish but he hasn’t played in nearly as many events as the others and has also been over in the States playing at the WGC.
If Canter gets off to a good start then I can only see him going on to do well here in Rome so the 80/1 on offer looks attractive especially with the 1-7 places on offer.
Thomas Detry v Sean Crocker
For my final selection it’s the customary matchbet and I’m liking the look of Thomas Detry 10/11 Nap Betfair to get the better of Sean Crocker over the 72 holes.