Dan Roebuck’s Italian Open preview: Havret is on the cusp


With Joost Luiten claiming success in his national open in Holland on Sunday, the pressure is on Matteo Manassero, Francesco Molinari and company to raise a glass of Prosecco in celebration of a home win in Turin this week, as the European Tour takes in the Open D’Italia at Circolo Golf.

Only three times previously, since this event was incorporated onto the official schedule, has an Italian golfer prevailed in front of partisan galleries, with only the younger of the Molinari brothers successful since 1980.

Manassero (14/1) and Molinari (12/1) vie for favouritism with the back-to-form Simon Dyson (12/1) and Bernd Wiesburger (16/1). Manassero hasn’t rewarded each-way backers since early June and has often found the weight of home support too much. Molinari, meanwhile, has missed his last two cuts and cannot be backed at current prices, despite calling this week’s layout his ‘home course’.

With little course form to go on – 1999 was the last time Circolo Golf staged this tournament (won by Dean Robertson) – current form is even more relevant this week. So, with three top-seven finishes in his last five starts, the player with the best scoring average in the field – with more than one start in the last two months – is Gregory Havret.

The Frenchman sits 63rd in the Race to Dubai standings so knows he needs to keep up the gallop if he is to get inside the top 60, which will gain him entry into the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Havret is 25/1 to triumph.

The Turin track was also used to stage the 2008 Piemonte Open on the Challenge Tour. Of those that play this week there are six players who made the top 10 five years ago, including the winner Seve Benson.

However, I’m prepared to give Mikko Korhonen one last go in the staking plan after finishing with a 66 in the KLM Open on Sunday. The Finn was ninth in 2008 and is arguably the most consistent player in the field this week with three top tens in his last six starts and no missed cuts since February. Korhonen is 66/1 to win and 5/1 to finish in the top 10.

Of the rest, a case can be made for Dyson, but his price seems too short, while Emiliano Grillo (50/1) would be backable if he found some form on the greens. However, the third player to follow is Marcus Fraser (40/1). The Australian’s form has been good recently and 16th in the Netherlands last week, where he putted superbly, should stand him in good stead for a crack at the title in Italy.

My three off the tee, therefore, are Havret, Korhonen and Fraser.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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