We're off to Rome for this week's golf where the betting is dominated by some of the European Tour's star names. Do any of them figure in the Betfair golf team's each-way picks for the Italian Open?
"He's ranked 11th and 7th for Greens in Regulation in his latest two outings so that strong iron play can take him to another big finish."
EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 8 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Jordan Smith @ 50/1
Jordan Smith won't win prizes for consistency in recent months and there's a really negative spin that can be put on his last 11 results as the Englishman has missed the cut in six of them. However, in four of the other five he's made the top six and landed the each-way cash so blindly backing him has been profitable. Three of those good finishes came in May/June but the other was on his latest start at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland when tied fifth. That added to a top 25 at Wentworth so he looks to be building some nice momentum again. Italy looks a god place to keep it going as, in two starts at the Italian Open, Smith has finished tied 21st (2017) and tied eighth (2018). He's ranked 11th and 7th for Greens in Regulation in his latest two outings so that strong iron play can take him to another big finish.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Justin Harding @ 66/1
Having turned around a bad little run with seventh place over the weekend, Justin Harding is worth backing to resume the rapid progress made prior to this summer. Relentlessly consistent in his homeland, the South African carried those traits over the much higher standard European Tour with an impressive campaign last autumn, culminating in victory at the Qatar Masters. A superb 12th on his Masters debut followed and that wasn't his only respectable performance in the States by any means. Harding owed that progress to relatively long and reliably straight driving, which must be an asset around this week's long, tree-lined course. So too will be bogey avoidance - a stat for which he ranks 12th now but led during the first half of this season.
Steve Rawlings: Back Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 40/1
The Olgiata Golf Club in Rome is described as an undulating, tree-lined, old fashioned parkland course and it should really suit the rapidly improving South African, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who's best form has all come at tree-lined venues this year. He was 14th in the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salem back in May, before finishing third in the BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried in June, and he followed that up with an impressive six-stroke victory at Valderrama. His third in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in his penultimate start was yet another demonstration of his love for tree-lined courses and he looks a fair price at 40/1 with eight places up for grabs.
Joe Dyer: Back Danny Willett @ 25/1
Danny Willett has already won two Rolex Series events and this looks like a great opportunity for him to grab a third. Already a winner at Wentworth, Crans and of course, Augusta, Willett should take to this week's long tree-lined venue like a duck to water. His 26th place finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links last time out looks a little disappointing but just four days after winning at Wentworth, he opened the event with a level par 72 around Carnoustie to sit tied for 122nd so it was a better performance than it first appears. Willett clearly rouses himself for the bigger events and he has a good record in this one too with event form figures reading 3-2-MC-8.
Mike Norman: Back Andrea Pavan @ 30/1
Let's be honest, this isn't a world class Italian Open field, so in an event where home players have a good recent record of either winning or figuring prominently on the leaderboard I'm more than happy to get Rome resident Andrea Pavan on side. He's likely to have been looking forward to his home event all year and I'm sure he's very familiar with the Olgiata Golf Club set-up. What he might not have expected however was to arrive at the Italian Open in such good form. The 30-year-old has enjoyed a magnificent season having bagged his second European Tour title when winning the BMW International Open in June, and he followed that with a fourth at the Scottish Open and third when defending the Czech Masters. That latter finish is highly encouraging as it suggests he can handle the added media attention which he's sure to get this week. In recent months Pavan has made six consecutive cuts, finishing 16th or higher in five of those events. Remarkably consistent, in-form, and buoyed by the huge swell of home support I'll be surprised if the Italian doesn't challenge for the title this week.
2019 Season P/L to date: -£407.55
- Alfred Dunhill Links, Joakim Lagergren @ 100/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- BMW PGA Championship, Rafa Cabrera-Bello @ 50/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Omega European Masters, Matthias Schwab @ 80/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Scandinavian Invitational, Alex Levy @ 70/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Scottish Open, Andrea Pavan @ 110/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- BMW International Open, Jordan Smith @ 28/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- US Open, Gary Woodland @ 70/1 - WIN (Dave)
- Made In Denmark, Pablo Larrazabal @ 80/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- USPGA Championship, Brooks Koepka @ 11/1 - WIN (Steve)
- Volvo China Open, David Lipsky @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- WGC Dell Match Play, Matt Kuchar @ 40/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- WGC Mexico Championship, Cameron Smith @ 60-1 - PLACE (Paul)
- WGC Mexico Championship, Paul Casey @ 35/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- World Super 6, Scott Vincent @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- World Super 6, Paul Dunne @ 50/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Joost Luiten @ 80/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Mauritius Open, Justin Harding @ 30/1 - PLACE (Dave)
*2018 P/L: +£727.16
*2017 P/L: -£306.84
*2016 P/L: +£267.58
*2015 P/L: +£958.37
*2014 P/L: +£251.75