Ahead of the fifth Rolex Series event of the season, our stats guru has crunched the numbers to bring you three picks for your Fantasy teams.
Favourite: Francesco Molinari
This week’s favourite can only be Italy’s greatest ever golfer, the younger of the Molinari brothers, who boasts a remarkable record in this event.
The World Number 11 has won twice, recorded four top fives and seven top ten finishes in his 18 Italian Open starts since 1999, and is a cumulative 185 under par for his home open. For context, Nicolas Colsaerts has the next best record in this event over that time frame, with 113 under par - 72 shots behind Molinari.
No player has won the Italian Open on three occasions – will Molinari rewrite history once again for his home nation?
Form horse: Ian Poulter
Also chasing a record-breaking Italian hat-trick is Poulter, who like his former Ryder Cup team-mate Molinari has an enviable record in Italy.
The first of the Englishman’s 12 European Tour wins came at the 2000 Italian Open in Sardinia, and two years later he lifted the prestigious trophy again, at this week’s venue Olgiata Golf Club in Rome.
Poulter has also finished inside the top ten in five of his six starts in this event, with his lowest placing a share of 18th at Gardagolf Country Club in 2003. The man they call ‘the Postman’ has also consistently delivered by breaking 70 in 20 of the 22 Italian Open rounds he has played.
We don’t know if it’s the fine wine, the delicious food or the beautiful scenery, but there is something about Italy which brings out the best in Poulter.
Wildcard: Ashley Chesters
The Englishman has only competed in one edition of the Italian Open, but we believe he has the required tools to make an impression this week.
Around the tight, tree-lined fairways of Olgiata Golf Club, precision is required off the tee. When it comes to this category, the 29-year-old is one of the leading players on Tour – sitting in third place in driving accuracy off the tee this season.
In fact, of players who have completed more than 35 rounds this term, Chesters ranks first, finding the fairway 72.36% of the time.
With one top ten and two further top 25 finishes in his last four starts he also arrives in Rome in decent form, which is why we believe he could pull off the Italian job this week.
Those are our picks, did we do enough to convince you? Add them to your European Tour Daily Fantasy Game and your line-up in the Fantasy Race to Dubai before the action begins on Thursday.