The European Tour heads to Milan this week for the Open D’Italia presented by DAMIANI. Hennie Otto of South Africa defends at Golf Club Milano.

A strong field has assembled to contest this prestigious event: A mixture of on-form European Tour players and star names. Amongst those teeing it up are Major champions Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington and Martin Kaymer. 2016 Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke will also play.

The home nation will be well represented with Matteo Manassero, Marco Crespi, Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari and young Renato Paratore heading the Italian challenge.

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 Hennie Otto held off charges by David Howell and Stephen Gallacher to win by two shots. It was a second victory in the tournament for the South African – he also triumphed in 2008.

The event is returning to the Golf Club Milano for the first time since 1990. It’s 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 like it could be a little troublesome at the start of the tournament. Thunderstorms are a real possibility on both Thursday and Friday and these could well disrupt play.

Venue: Golf Club Milano, Parco Reale di Monza, Italy
Date: Sep 17-20
Course stats: par 72, 7,159 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €250,000
Defending Champion: Hennie Otto (-20)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Friday 18 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Saturday 19 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 20 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm

Player watch:
Eddie Pepperell – The talented Englishman has been enjoying a good season and he comes into this event on the back of a top-five finish in the KLM Open last week.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello – He’s been struggling to finish off tournaments in recent months and he let another chance slip away last week in Holland. But he’s clearly playing well and if he can put it all together he’ll be a contender again this time out.

Cabrera Bello gets a trick shot lesson:

Danny Willett – This is his first European Tour start since the USPGA Championship but the Englishman still lies second on the 2015 Race to Dubai. He won the European Masters in Switzerland over a course that demands precision and accuracy, the layout this week should present a relatively similar test.

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.