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Italian Open Betting Tips & Predictions

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After hitting good form in recent weeks with two handsome each way returns of 35/1 and 55/1 on the European Tour, we felt confident that the next winner was just around the corner.

And so it proved, with Joost Luiten coming home at 18/1 to win his home tournament, the KLM Open. Well done to Joost and well done to you if you were on: that’s £158 profit from the last three weeks on the European Tour at the advised £5 e/w stake.

Often in golf a winner can experience something of a lull after being crowned champion, but we’re determined to make sure the same doesn’t happen to the FST golf tips. With no PGA Tour event this week, we’re putting all our efforts into the Italian Open.

Tournament Background

This event has been a bastion of the circuit for the best part of 75 years, and while it has dotted around the country it appears to have settled on its current home of Golf Club Milano in, yes you guessed it, Milan.

The event was held here last year, and witnessed a quite remarkable meltdown from the bookmakers’ favourite this week, Martin Kaymer. He should have bagged the ‘W’ with ease, but an awful Sunday allowed the previously unheralded Rikard Karlberg, his maiden tour victory.

With four missed cuts out of the last five we won’t be backing Karlberg this week in a hurry, but funnily this event has a habit of throwing up curveball winners, as this rogues gallery attests:

2015 – Rikard Karlberg (-19)
2014 – Hennie Otto (-20)
2013 – Julien Quesne (-12)
2012 – Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (-24)
2011 – Robert Rock (-21)

None of these five guys, with all the will in the world, has quite set the European Tour alight, and what it means for punters is that this tournament is wide open. A Swede, a South African, a Frenchman, a Spaniard and an Englishman, and all priced at 50/1 or greater; that’s food for thought.

The Course

Karlberg’s winning score of -19 last year highlights that this is a scorer’s track, so birdies – and lots of them – are the order of the day.

A Par 71 with a 7,156 yardage, the Golf Club Milano was designed by James Peter Gannon and opened its doors for the first time in 1928. Many of the original features are still in place, including tight, tree-lined fairways and small Bentgrass greens that ran pretty slowly in 2015.

But even with the cramped conditions, scoring was a free-for-all and that is because of the lack of any real penalty when veering off course. The rough was low if not non-existent, and do accuracy off the tee was all but irrelevant: as proven by Karlberg’s ranking of 63rd for this stat.

The Swede wasn’t particularly long either as he ranked 45th for Driving Distance, so instead we’re looking for GIR merchants who can scramble well; Karlberg ranked ninth for GIR (Kaymer was first) and made all of his sand saves.

Our Selections

So low scoring is the key this week, and happily three of our selections rank inside the top ten for Birdie Average on tour for the past three months. The first is an absolute Greens in Regulation machine.

Fabrizio Zanotti (each way)

The Paraguayan has been in fine form of late, with five consecutive top 40 finishes earned across the globe. He finished a fine 15th at the Olympic Games, and then some of his best work has come in the last two weeks: 24th at the European Masters and 16th at the KLM Open.

At those latter two events strong tee work was essential, but with a more relaxed feel about this Italia test Zanotti should come into his own. He ranked 8th for GIR in Switzerland and 11th in Holland, so clearly he is stroking the ball beautifully at the moment.

He broke his tour title duck in 2014 at the BMW International Open (where he shot -19 incidentally), and finished third here last year.

Brandon Stone (Each Way)

The South African recorded his first tour win earlier this year at his home Open, and while he has been slightly inconsistent since then a smattering of fine performances – fifth at the French Open, 10th last week at the KLM – have caught the eye.

He ranked eleventh for GIR in the Netherlands and is a decent scrambler, and as if to complete the puzzle ranks a very competitive sixth on tour for Birdie Average since the start of June.

Six top-10s this season mark Stone down as one to watch in low-scoring affairs like this one.

Alejandro Canizares (Each Way)

Another who ranks in the top ten for Birdie Average from the last three months is Alejandro Canizares, who finished a very creditable 25th here last year considering it was his first look at the course.

A handy few weeks has seen the Spaniard finish fifth at the Paul Lawrie Matchplay, 24th at the European Masters and fourth last week at the KLM, and it is good form driven by high GIR stats: he was 23rd last week for this metric, and statistically is putting better than he has ever done before.

If the two-time European Tour winner can put those piece of the jigsaw in place once again, he should go close.

Nino Bertasio (Each Way)

This is a gamble, in all sense of the word, but let’s have a flutter on an Italian who started his weekend at the KLM Open last week like a man possessed.

Rounds of 66, 67 and 67 put Bertasio right in the mix for honours, for a Sunday shocker of 77 put paid to those chances. But for 54 holes at least the Italian was as good as anybody, and at this kind of price and in his home tournament that is an interesting combination.

You know what else is interesting: only Henrik Stenson has hit more birdies on the European Tour than Nino Bertasio in the last three months. That bodes very well.

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