Seven of Darren Clarke’s 12 Ryder Cup team members tee it up at Golf Club Milano for this week’s Open D’Italia. Rikard Karlberg of Sweden is defending champion.
With just two weeks until the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine seven European Ryder Cup team members tee it up, and will be keen to find their best form at this week’s Open D’Iltalia in Milan. The Ryder Cuppers on the start sheet for this event are: Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
A number of other well-known players are on the entry list, including Major champions like Padraig Harrington, Y.E. Yang and Paul Lawrie. 2015 BMW PGA champion Byeong Hun An is on the tee sheet following his third place last week in Holland and the winner of that event, Joost Luiten will also make a start in Milan.
There’s an increased prize fund for the tournament this year. The total purse has been raised to €3,000,000 with the winner in line to pick up a cheque for €500,000. As such, it’s a great chance for players to make great strides on the Race to Dubai standings. Those looking for a good result to play themselves into the top-60 and gain eligibility for the DP World Tour Championship include: home favourite Matteo Manassero, Germany’s Max Kieffer, former winner Robert Rock and his fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.
It’s the 72nd running of this historic tournament. It was first contested in 1925 when Francesco Pasquali took the title. Since then many famous players have triumphed in the event, they include: Sir Henry Cotton, Peter Thomson, Tony Jacklin, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman and Sandy Lyle.
Last year Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg came through a sudden-death playoff against Germany’s Martin Kaymer to claim his first European Tour title.
The Golf Club Milano is a tricky, tree-lined track that will test the players’ accuracy, particularly from the tee. Straight driving will be at a premium this week.
The weather looks unsettled and rain could be a factor on the first couple of days.
Venue: Golf Club Milano, Parco Reale di Monza, Italy
Date: Sep 15-18
Course stats: par 71, 6,981 yards
Purse: €3,000,000 Winner: €500,000
Defending Champion: Rikard Karlberg (-19)
Thursday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Friday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Saturday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 18 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Look for the Ryder Cup players to stamp their authority on this event:
Martin Kaymer – The German was runner-up here last year, losing a playoff to Rikard Karlberg. He’ll be keen to justify Darren Clarke’s faith in him by putting on a good showing this week. He was tied sixth in Denmark.
Matthew Fitzpatrick – The youngster was tied for third in this tournament last year so clearly enjoys the course. Three excellent rounds to close out the Omega European Masters suggests the 22-year-old is finding good form at the right time.
Danny Willett – Another man who looks to be playing himself back into good form at the right time, the Masters champion closed with a 64 in Crans-sur-Sierre. He was also tied third in this event last season.
Danny Willett swing sequence:
Key hole: 14th. It’s a par-5 measuring only just over 500 yards, so this should be a significant birdie, even eagle chance. It’s a dog-leg to the right with two well-placed bunkers on the corner. The longer hitters will be able to clear these unless there’s a breeze into their faces. If this is achieved it will leave just an iron into the green.