We get a sneak peek at the 2023 Ryder Cup venue this week - and there's a strong field in place as the European Tour season starts to reach its conclusion

With the European Tour’s flagship event just around the corner, we warm-up this week in Italy for the DS Automobiles Italian Open. As the FedEx Cup draws to its conclusion, more and more players are heading over to Europe to prepare for next week’s event at Wentworth. A strong field means no easy task in picking a winner, but I fancy a couple of headline Italians and a value American to bring us a return this week. But first…

Italian Open details

Venue: Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy

Date: September 2-5 , 2021

Course stats: Par 71; 7,268 yards

Course summary: This week we get a great opportunity for a sneak peek at the 2023 Ryder Cup venue, situated on the outskirts of Rome. The fairways are relatively open, with slippery contoured greens, but the dangerous water hazards which lurk on many of the holes will increase the premium on accuracy. The rough is expected to be challenging, and with a big event like the Ryder Cup due to come here in the next couple of years, do not expect the organisers to make this an easy test.

Purse: €3,000,000

Defending champion: Ross McGowan (-20)

Italian Open TV times

Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf (Red Button) and Sky Sports Mix from 12.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf (Red Button) and Sky Sports Mix from 12.30pm

Italian Open betting tips

Bazza’s Banker: Guido Migliozzi @ 25/1 with Bet365

Migliozzi has had a strong season so far, and the opportunity to fly the flag for Italy at his home tournament could be enough to see him add a third European Tour win to his collection. The Italian has been in fine form of late, with back-to-back runner up finishes in May followed by an impressive T4 finish at the US Open.

A T7 finish last week sees him arrive in great shape to tackle this course, and when you consider that he ranks 23rd in the world for SG: Putting in the last three months he should have no problem negotiating these tricky greens.

A ranking of 28th for SG: Total, in the company of the best players in world golf, highlights his potential – so with form and course suitability on his side I can see him taking this event in Rome.

Francesco Molinari @ 35/1 with Bet365

Throughout 2021 we have seen glimpses of Molinari threatening to play his best golf, but the consistency has often let him down. A return to the Italian Open, his home tournament where he has won previously, could be the spark he needs, and at this price I can’t resist letting the romantic in me takeover.

A T8 finish at the Genesis Invitational and a T13 finish at the US Open are perhaps the highlights for Molinari this season, but a T32 finish last week was also very encouraging. A round two score of 64 in Switzerland demonstrated that Molinari still has that magic in his locker, and with six European Tour wins he has more than enough experience to transfer the positive stuff over to this week.

John Catlin @ 55/1 with Bet365

After backing Catlin at a big price last week, and seeing him sit 6th after three rounds, I am prepared to chuck him straight back in. A disappointing final round saw him plummet through the field, but on a track where accuracy is paramount he certainly has the skillset to be successful.

Catlin ranked in the top-10 for Driving Accuracy in three of the four rounds in Switzerland, and in the top-20 for GIR across all four rounds, so just needs to find some success with the putter for it all to come together. Three European Tour wins in the last 12 months suggests he can convert good performances into wins when on the right track, and at a big price I fancy him to add a fourth this week.

For more prices visit Bet365.

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