For the first time this season, the DP World Tour will actually play an event in Europe, and it is a significant one.
The Italian Open will be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the host of the 2023 Ryder Cup. Whilst none of Team Europe's leading players will be here this week, this event does provide an opportunity for players like Nicolai Hojgaard and Robert MacIntyre to win here for a second time and likely secure themselves a spot on the Ryder Cup team.
There are also other players on the periphery of making the Ryder Cup team that will hope to impress, like Jordan Smith, Adrian Meronk, Yannik Paul, Rasmus Hojgaard, Victor Perez, and Thobjorn Olesen.
Ultimately though, whilst it is important to look ahead to the Ryder Cup, we are betting solely on this event, and thus need to determine firstly, what players need to do to win here, and secondly, who provides the best value to grab the title this week.
Let's break down Marco Simone Golf and Country Club and the field this week, to establish who could win this event.
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2023 Italian Open: Course Preview
- Par 71
- 7,268 yards
Marco Simone has hosted the Italian Open for the past two years, and the two winners since Nicolai Hojgaard and Robert MacIntyre give you a great idea of what is required to win here.
Ultimately, this is a course that favors the longer hitters and those that can really set up multiple birdie chances, by giving themselves short approaches into each green. That may sound basic, and that is because it is. This course comes with its quirks and challenges, and has not been without criticism, but the course is there to be scored on, and unless it plays differently now we are in May and in a Ryder Cup year, the same types should play well again.
Nicolai Hojgaard won this event in 2021 by leading the field in SG Off the Tee and SG Tee to Green, whilst a year later, Robert MacIntyre ranked 19th and 6th in those same two areas respectively.
Italian Open Key Stats
- SG Tee to Green - In two renewals of this course hosting this event, the winners have ranked 1st and 6th in SG Tee to Green the weeks they won. All six players that finished T5 or better here last year ranked inside the top 12 for SG Tee to Green and six of the seven in 2021 ranked inside the top 8.
- Driving Distance - The stats suggest you don't need to be the longest to contend here, but the eye test says otherwise, and it is those that are able to send it off the tee that have truly contended here.
Italian Open Picks and Predictions: Outright Winner
Jorge Campillo +3500 (Bet $100 to collect $3600) The best odds for this Jorge Campillo pick are at DraftKings
Bets don't get much more obvious than Jorge Campillo at the Italian Open this week in my opinion, and I think it would be crazy to overlook the in-form Spaniard, despite the strength of the top of the odds board.
Jorge Campillo sits just outside the group of favorites in this event at +3500 on DraftKings Sportsbook, and I think that is tremendous value for a player who has a win and three more top 9 finishes in his last four starts.
In addition to his current form, Campillo also finished 9th at this golf course last year, and 7th in a previous Italian Open.
Longer off the tee than given credit for, Campillo can keep up his good run of form at another suitable course, as the Spaniard will be one of the who benefits from returning to Mainland Europe, especially in the form he is in.
Make sure you are comparing the odds on Jorge Campillo this week, as there is a $700 in payout based on a $100 wager on him at DraftKings Sportsbook or FanDuel Sportsbook.
Adri Arnaus +5500 (Bet $100, to collect $5600) The best odds for this Shaun Norris selection are at BetMGM
Adri Arnaus would have had designs on making the Ryder Cup team after breaking through for his first victory in Catalunya last year, but he's not hit the required form to put himself truly in the mix just yet.
This week's Italian Open will provide an excellent opportunity for him to do so though, as he returns to a course where he finished 12th in 2021 but was actually in 2nd place at the 36-hole stage.
In addition to his form at this course, a win at Al Hamra on the Challenge Tour is a good sign, as is his 6th place finish on the same course on the DP World Tour this year. Nicolai Hojgaard was a winner there and Robert MacIntyre finished 13th and should have done even better, in the same year.
Arnaus also has three top-10 finishes at the DP World Tour Championship, a course where the two course winners here, tied for 4th two years ago.
Arnaus was 2nd at the SDC Championship three starts ago and whilst he has missed two cuts since, he has posted rounds of 68 in both, so he's not wildly out of form and now returns to a part of the world where he feels more comfortable.
This course should set up perfectly once more for the big-hitting Spaniard, and I think he, along with compatriot, Campillo, represents great value.