Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogItalian Open Preview and Picks

Italian Open

May 31st – June 3rd, 2018

Gardagolf C.C.

Brescia, Italy

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,201

Purse: $7 million

with $1,166,660 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Tyrrell Hatton

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 21 of the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest-ranked player in the field being #11 Tommy Fleetwood.  Here are the other top-100 players in the field: #17 Alex Noren, #20 Francesco Molinari, #22 Tyrrell Hatton, #25 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #27 Ian Poulter, #37 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #41 Ross Fisher, #46 Haotong Li, #47 Alexander Levy, #58 Dylan Frittelli, #67 Thomas Pieters, #71 Paul Dunne, #76 Alexander Bjork,  #86 Jorge Campillo, #87 Matt Wallace, #95 Chris Paisley, #98 George Coetzee, #99 Eddie Pepperell, #100 Hideto Tanihara.

Last year there were 24 top 100 players in the field.

The field includes 16 of the Top 25 on this year’s Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #3 Francesco Molinari, #5 Alex Noren, #6 Tommy Fleetwood, #8 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #10 Alexander Bjork, #11 Alexander Levy, #12 Tyrrell Hatton, #14 Jorge Campillo, #16 Adrian Otaegui, #18 Ross Fisher, #19 Matt Wallace, #21 Lucas Bjerregaard, #22 Joost Luiten, #23 Dylan Frittelli, #24 Matthew Fitzpatrick and #25 Chris Paisley

The field includes 7 past champions: Tyrrell Hatton (2017), Francesco Molinari (2016 & ’06), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (2012 & ’07), Robert Rock (2011), Graeme McDowell (2004), Gregory Havret (2001) and Ian Poulter (2000).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Italian Open field is our performance chart listed by the average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Italian Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Italian Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Italian Open

Player BMW PGA Belgian Knockout Byron Nelson The Players Sicilian Open Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Trophee Hassan II Valero Texas RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters
Francesco Molinari
(226 pts)
Win
(198)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 49
(0.33)
DNP T20
(20)
Adrian Otaegui
(213.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(192.83 pts)
T20
(45)
DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
Alexander Bjork
(186.17 pts)
T27
(34.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP
Alex Noren
(171.17 pts)
T3
(135)
DNP DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Lucas Bjerregaard
(168.33 pts)
T3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(40)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ian Poulter
(144.5 pts)
T20
(45)
DNP DNP T11
(58.5)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T44
(4)
Jorge Campillo
(137.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
5
(70)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Benjamin Hebert
(137.17 pts)
T35
(22.5)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(122.5 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T38
(8)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(101 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP T46
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP T38
(8)
Alexander Levy
(97 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matt Wallace
(95 pts)
T20
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(88.67 pts)
T20
(45)
T46
(4)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP
Andrea Pavan
(82.33 pts)
T52
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(81 pts)
T12
(57)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP
Darren Fichardt
(79.17 pts)
7
(82.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP
James Heath
(76.67 pts)
68
(0)
4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matthew Southgate
(69.17 pts)
T27
(34.5)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mikko Ilonen
(69 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mike Lorenzo-vera
(65.83 pts)
T43
(10.5)
8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP
Andy Sullivan
(65.5 pts)
T35
(22.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP
David Drysdale
(65 pts)
CUT
(-15)
3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Nicolas Colsaerts
(64 pts)
CUT
(-15)
7
(55)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP
Sam Horsfield
(63.5 pts)
T15
(52.5)
T41
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Robert Rock
(61.67 pts)
T20
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP
Thongchai Jaidee
(61.67 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T73
(0)
DNP
Ross Fisher
(58.33 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP 71
(0)
DNP T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
David Lipsky
(58.17 pts)
T27
(34.5)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T67
(0)
DNP
Jeunghun Wang
(58 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Nacho Elvira
(57.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP 3
(30)
DNP
Matteo Manassero
(57.5 pts)
T27
(34.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP
Mikko Korhonen
(55.17 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(6)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(54 pts)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP
Alvaro Quiros
(51.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Italian Open

Player BMW PGA Belgian Knockout Byron Nelson The Players Sicilian Open Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Trophee Hassan II Valero Texas RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters
Danny Willett
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Daniel Im
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Zander Lombard
(-35 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thomas Aiken
(-35 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chase Koepka
(-35 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Clement Sordet
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
S.S.P. Chawrasia
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Peter Hanson
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Carlos Pigem
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Charlie Ford
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The national open of Italy, this event was first started in 1925 when Italian Francesco Pasquali won.  There will be a lot of pride as the Italians try to win their championship, the last Italian to win was Francesco Molinari in 2016, who also won it in 2006.  He was the first Italian champion since Massimo Mannelli won in 1980 and the seventh Italian winner of this championship.

This year’s event has a special date.  Since 2012 it’s been held in either August, September, and October, but with it now part of the Rolex series it gets a June date, the week after the BMW PGA Championship with the hope of retaining more players and get a better field.  In a way it has worked as 16 of the top-25 of the Race to Dubai is in attendance.  One other thing, it is opposite the Memorial which is one of the most popular events on the PGA Tour, so the field is pretty good.  Talking about Italy, this event has had a sizeable increase in prize money from 3 million euro last year to $7 million this year.  That’s because Italy is now deeply involved in the Ryder Cup since it’s going to be the home country in 2022.

What about Gardagolf Country Club

  • After a wait of more than 15 years, the Italian Open returns to the stunning Gardagolf Country Club in Lombardy. Opened 32 years ago and situated close to Lake Garda, in the Province of Brescia, this week’s photogenic venue is approximately 80 miles east of Milan.  This will be the third time that the Italian Open is being held at this venue,  Bernhard Langer was the winner in 1997 and Mathias Gronberg was the winner in 2003.
  • The golf course was designed by British architects Henry Cotton, Frank Pennick and Donald Steel, the first 18 holes, the Red and White Courses opened in 1986 and the Yellow nine opened in 1990. The Gardagolf Country Club offers 27 holes nestled between the Rocca di Manerba, Soiano Castle and the Valtenesi hills, offering an extraordinarily beautiful panorama. Cypresses, olive trees, centuries-old oaks, pines and holm oaks complete the setting.
  • This week’s course will be a composite of the Red and White courses, weaved in amongst the Cypress and olive trees. Many believe that Gardagolf is one of the best courses built in Europe in the past 30 years.
  • The White course takes full advantage of the plain that extends from Soiano towards Manerba, and has some interesting holes: the 7th, for example, the par 5 is an accentuated left dog-leg with a large lake that devours the tee shots of those try and cut off more than the can chew. If the tee shot is placed correctly, players can hit the par 5 in two and make birdie.  The uphill 9th hole has a century-old chapel off the tee.  It has a green that sits underneath the clubhouse, nestled in a natural amphitheater covered with old yet beautiful olive trees.  Par on the front nine is 35.
  • The back nine will be the Red Nine.  It spreads gently across the hills dominated by Soiano Castle to the West, and by the town of Polpenazze to the East. It offers evocative and characteristic views plus challenges.  One is the 12th hole a par 3 of only 159 yards but one with a big lake in front.  The green is very thin and will be hard to hit, so the short yardage of the hole is deceiving.  Another great hole is the 18th, from the tee you will have great views as far as the eye can see which offers a view of Lake Garda and the majestic backdrop of Mount Baldo.  The downhill par 4 of 488 is characterized by a long water hazard on the right and a central valley to challenge you, while on the left, you can admire the former villa of the patrician Omodeo family, now a residential complex.  Par on the back is 36 with two par 5s that will be easy to hit in two so all three par 5s will give players lot’s of eagles and birdies.  It will be essential to learn the course and a player in the 156-man field that knows it the best is Matteo Manassero. Born on the other side of Lake Garda in Negrar, the 25-year-old started playing at Gardagolf as a toddler and practices at the course when he’s not out on Tour. Another player in the field Nino Bertasio is another who plays a lot at Gardagolf.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Francesco Molinari – $11,500
  • Alex Noren – $11,100
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $10,500
  • Ian Poulter – $9,900
  • Ross Fisher – $9,700
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick – $9,600
  • Rafael Cabrera Bello – $9,400
  • Paul Dunne – $9,300
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $9,200
  • Alexander Levy – $9,000
  • Lucas Bjerregaard – $8,900

In the list above I can’t find much fault on anyone on this list, I think anyone of these is an excellent choice, but of course, the prices are very high.  Francesco Molinari at $11,500 is fair based on him winning last week and being Italian. However, because of the price can’t see you taking him because he needs to finish in the top-five to make it worth your while. The same with Alex Noren at $11,100, the price is too high for what you have to sacrifice in other picks.  Tommy Fleetwood at $10,500 would be my top choice, he has played well of late (other than missing cut at Wells Fargo) and after a disappointing finish at Wentworth (T-20th) he will be looking for a win.  Ian Poulter at $9,900 and Ross Fisher at $9,700 are also folks to avoid but basically,  cost too much.  Many will remember that Poulter finished T-18th in this event in 2003, but that isn’t enough for me. Matthew Fitzpatrick at $9,600 is ok, he finished T-8th at BMW PGA and looked like his game has improved and he could do well for you this week.  The same for Rafael Cabrera Bello at $9,400, he too was T-8th at Wentworth and is ready to win in Europe.  Paul Dunne at $9,300 is probably not the best of picks, he is Jeckel and Hyde he could either miss the cut or finish in the top-ten.  Tyrrell Hatton at $9,200 is the defending champion and one I can’t recommend, he is getting over wrist injury and despite having no pain has played terribly, probably best to pass on him.  Both Alexander Levy at $9,000 and Lucas Bjerregaard at $8,900, I would call Bjerregaard a very, very good pick at this moment.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Andy Sullivan at $8,800 is a good buy; he is playing well.  Matt Wallace at $8,700 is another ok buy but be careful, don’t expect a lot out of him.  Alexander Bjork at $8,600 is another good buy, won last month in China, also you can’t go wrong with Lee Westwood at $8,500 he finished T-6th at Gardagolf in 1997   After that is some guys you really aren’t interested in many more players, go down to $7,500 for your next guy, Mike Lorenzo-Vera.  Like the Frenchman and think he is well worth the money. Go up a bit for Adrian Otaegui at $7,700.  Yes, he missed the cut at Wentworth, but this is a different player that knows how to keep it up.  Same with Joakim Lagergren at $7,500 he is the last player to win in Italy, he won a couple of weeks back in Sicily.

Some of the “bargains” this week at the Italian Open

Watch Darren Fichardt at $7,400, his game was great at Wentworth and think he will ride the wave in this week.  Same with Thongchai Jaidee at $7,400, he was T-8th at Wentworth and looking upwards. Now you have to take Matteo Manassero at $7,200 just because he has more course knowledge than any other players in the field; he hasn’t played that bad so far this year.  Nino Bertasio is also at $7,200, and he is a local kid that has played a lot at Gardagolf.  One other longshot and I say that because he has missed is last 4 cuts is Gregory Havret at $6,700, he won’t miss the cut this week and was T-60th at this event in 2003.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Italian Open:

Key stat for the players to win this week:

  • Hit lot’s of greens and fairways.  The course isn’t long, and the greens are above average.  However, you can’t wander off the fairways; some very mature trees will make it impossible to recover if you miss the fairway.  Also look for a player that is hot, they are always favorites in events like this.
  • The most important stat will be to destroy the par 5s.  There are only three of them but they are all within distance of all players to get home in 2, and I see the leaders playing them in at least 9 under par.
  • Again we can’t stress looking to see who is playing the best coming into this week.  Winners of late like Francesco Molinari, Adrian Otaegui, Joakim Lagergren, Alexander Bjork and Alexander Levy will be players to watch this week.
  • Look for some unsettling weather to hit the region on Thursday with thunderstorms must of the day.  However, after that, the weather will be great with sunny, clear skies with it being 82 degrees each day.  Players will like that winds will be soft each day all under 8 mph.

Who to watch for at the Italian Open

Best Bets:

Tommy Fleetwood

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T6 T7 T33 T24 T22

Best full-time player on the European Tour, don’t worry what he did last week at Wentworth, he will play well this week.

Alexander Levy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T26 T7 T72 T67 T42

Type of guy that can win on a course like Gardagolf

Lucas Bjerregaard

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T20 T3 DQ

Right now the hottest player in Europe, been in the top-six in his last 3 starts.

Best of the rest:

Francesco Molinari

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T6 Win T20 T18 T16 T46 T8 T6 CUT T3 Win

Does have a lot of pressure winning in his home country, but he is playing great right now.

Alex Noren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T38 CUT CUT T43 WD

Was T-3rd last week in Wentworth has had a great year

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T15 T16 T3

Guy has the length to handle the par 5s at Gardagolf.

Ian Poulter

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Does have past experience at Gardagolf, playing very well right now.

Ross Fisher

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2 T7

Has played well this year, was runner-up last year but on another course.

Solid contenders

Matteo Manassero

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT CUT T54 T42 T3 T8 T29 T25

Has played more at Gardagolf than any other player.

Alexander Bjork

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T40

Playing well, won in China last month.

Adrian Otaegui

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T45 T20 CUT CUT

Guy won the knockout, also a player that does well on par 5s.

Andy Sullivan

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T20 T11 CUT

Playing well right now.

Long shots that could come through:

Darren Fichardt

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T32 T16 T20 T18 T66 CUT CUT

His game has come around so he is a great dark horse.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T10 T72 CUT CUT

Was 2nd in Sicily, also played well at the Knockout

Nino Bertasio

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T10 T45 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT

Another who knows Gardagolf very well

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.