With no PGA tour event this week, all focus will be on the European Tour this week in Italy. A strong field is headed by Masters champion Danny Willett and two time major winner Martin Kaymer. The home challenge is led by Francesco Molinari.
A 7,156 yard par 71 in Milan which hosted this tournament for the first time last year. The tournament was won by Rikard Karlberg at a score of -19 having contested a playoff with Martin Kaymer. The fairways didn’t seem too important to hit given Karlberg just hit 37.5%; however, hitting greens is a must. As noted in Finnian’s great preview, there seems to be a link with Wentworth with many of the top finishers here having a strong record at the BMW PGA – Karlberg himself finished 2nd in Surrey this year. A link we can look to exploit.
With the most expensive player in the field at just $11,500, it’ll be easier to put together a strong balanced line up with a mix of high end and mid-tier players this week.
Martin Kaymer ($11,500) – In great form having made his last 14 cuts. Includes a 7th in the PGA Championship. His form in Europe has been even better with five top seven finishes from last seven tournaments. Finished 2nd here last year and really should’ve won, so the course clearly suits. Expensive but worth paying for given the question marks over rivals.
Jaco Van Zyl ($9,200) – Good current form having made five cuts in a row including T6 last time out in Denmark. Finished 14th here last year with middle rounds of 65-66 showing his ability to play the course. Has the game to suit the course hitting fairways and greens with regularity. Top eight in accuracy and GIR in Denmark showing his long game is in great shape. Also finished top 10 at Wentworth this year should the link with the course stay true.
Fabrizio Zanotti ($9,100) – Striking the ball brilliantly currently and is a fairways and green machine. Has been rewarded with eight straight cuts including top 25s in his last three. Finished just one shot out of the playoff here last year to show that the course suits. Price is relatively high; however, hopefully this will keep him lower owned despite the fact that he looks an obvious play. Definite cash game material.
Tommy Fleetwood ($7,500) – His long game has been absolutely on point recently hitting more than 80% of greens in two of his last three tournaments. Finished 10th last week and comes back to a course where he finished 33rd last year off the back of four MCs. In far better form this year he should flourish on a course that suits his imperious long game.
Nino Bertasio ($7,400) – Coming to his home open, Bertasio continues to play well making 13 of his last 15 cuts. This includes a T24 last week which could’ve been so much better without a final round 77. That, however, keeps his price down this week. His long game has been consistently solid this year, and hopefully in front of the home crowd he can be inspired.
Romain Wattel ($7,200) – Disappointed last week when missing the cut but this has been an up and down season for the promising Frenchman. He finished 10th here last year to show his liking for the course, and finished 11th and 8th in the previous years to show his liking for playing in Italy. Finished 4th earlier this year at Wentworth showing his ability to play both similar courses, and in higher quality fields.
David Howell ($6,900) – At this price, one bad week will not put me off David Howell. Having made five consecutive cuts before last week, he was clearly playing good golf. Finished 25th here in 2015, and 2nd on a different course in 2014. Having been $8k+ for the last three tournaments, I’ll happily take him at a discount.
Simon Khan ($6,600) – How often do players finish in the top 10 and go down in price the next week? It’s happened to Simon Khan who showed good form last week. A very risky play given his boom or bust form, but with nine made cuts from 16 this year, he’s actually playing more consistent golf than prior years! Is the epitome of a course horse for Wentworth having finished 1st and 2nd in the last six years. If the link holds true, could be a good low end play.
Mikko Korhonen ($6,600) – Earlier in the season, Korhonen was reeling off top 25 finishes. He followed this with four disappointing displays with only one made cut in that period. A 10th place finish last week leaves him in a positive frame coming back to a place where he finished 25th last year. Coming off his 2nd best finish of the season, a good finish will tie up his card for next year giving him an extra incentive at a course that suits.
The World Ranking Play:
Chris Wood ($7,800) – Priced like a European Tour also ran, the world no.30 is just too cheap. His form hasn’t been that good of late but he’s been recovering from a neck injury which saw him miss out on The Open. He’ll be keen to get himself into good nick for the Ryder Cup and this looks a good course for him. Made his last two cuts to show that his form may be picked up, and has finished in the top 5 previously in Italy. Add in his strong links to Wentworth – winner this year – and he definitely looks underpriced.
Joost Luiten ($10,300) – Joost was fantastic last week in winning his home open. I’m not doubting his ability to win this tournament, but winning back to back is hard. It’s especially hard after you’ve been celebrating the most emotional victory of your career. If videos online are anything to go by, he celebrated heartily, and as such might not be quite on the ball this week. It’s a gamble, but I feel it’s a bigger gamble to play him.