With the US Open just a week away, the field for the BMW Italian Open is not as strong as those seen over the past couple of weeks on the European Tour at Wentworth and in Wales. It’s a good chance, therefore, for one of the circuit’s lesser lights to shine.
There will be considerable home interest though at the Royal Park I Roveri with teenage sensation Matteo Manassero and former champion Francesco Molinari both in the field.
Manassero was in contention for last year’s tournament and eventually finished seventh. The two-time European Tour winner is looking forward to playing on home soil.
“My first full year as a professional has been more than I could ever have imagined,” he said. “Since the day I hit my first tee shot at Royal Park it has been a very special year and last week emphasised that when I received the Rookie of the Year Award. It is exciting to be back in Turin.”
Last year’s winner Fredrik Andersson Hed will be hoping that a return to a happy hunting ground can turn his season around, he’s currently outside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai.
“It’s going to be a great week to come back to, a great place to come back to,” he said.
Venue: Royal Park I Roveri
Date: Jun 9-12
Course stats: par 72, 7,282 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €250,000
Defending Champion: Fredrik Andersson Hed (-16)
Thursday 9 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Friday 10 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Saturday 11 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12pm
Sunday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 12.30pm
Francesco Molinari – The World Number 20 who won the Italian Open of 2006 is a likely contender this week. He was born in Turin so he knows this layout well and he’ll have a considerable amount of home support.
Matteo Manassero – Another Italian player who will receive a huge amount of backing. The 18-year-old will start the week as favourite with most bookies and he’s coming off the back of some decent results including a seventh place at Wentworth.
Gregory Bourdy – The Frenchman was second last week in the Saab Wales Open and he’s already recorded two further top-10 finishes in 2011. He’s a streaky player so could well continue his run of form in this tournament.
Key hole: 17th. At 468 yards it’s the second longest par 4 on the course. A pond sits in the middle of the hole and a stream runs up past the left side of the green. The players will have to beware of that hazard, though the bail out to the right is hampered by two large bunkers.
Skills required: Course management. With a number of well-placed bunkers and water hazards over an eclectic mix of holes, players will use every club in the bag.