Matt Wallace has been a European Tour favourite for the best part of a fortnight and the Londoner will start this week’s Italian Open at the head of the betting, with
9/1 his price for the Brescia gathering.
The 30-year-old was at slightly bigger odds for last week’s Scottish Championship and shortened after rounds one, two and three, taking a three-shot lead into the Sunday with everyone else in the field at a double-figure price. Round four did not go to plan, though, and he ended up losing the tournament by four shots.
There is obviously no disgrace in a runner-up finish – and Adrian Otaegui fired a 63 to defeat Wallace – but the sorry Sunday effort from the champion-elect may have put punters off him for the Italian Open. He bogeyed the opening hole and never looked comfortable with the situation, surrendering his lead by the turn.
Kaymer Looking to End Drought
Wallace has gone 25 months without a victory, but that is nothing when compared to the barren spell of Martin Kaymer, who has not lifted a trophy since the 2014 US Open.
Kaymer, a two-time Major champion and former world number one, is still only 35 and has plenty still to offer, so the betting community may get lured by his
11/1 quotes for this week, but getting over the line in front has become an issue for the German.
Kaymer squandered a gilt-edged chance to get back to winning ways in the UK Championship at the end of August, faltering over the closing holes to finish third, so his backers for Italy will not be able to count any chickens until they have definitely hatched.
Kaymer has missed the cut in five of his last eight tournaments, finishing in the top ten in the three events in which he made the weekend.
Powerhouses a Serious Threat
Chervo Golf Club is a long, flat, wide-open layout which provides great encouragement to big-hitters and a pair of power-packed maidens can be expected to be in contention over the weekend. Adri Arnaus and Wilco Nienaber could make an impact in Brescia and reward each-way support.
22/1 chance, and Nienaber, who is available at
25/1, are a pair of 20-somethings who seem destined to win multiple European Tour titles before moving on to bigger and better Stateside careers.
Arnaus is blessed with raw strength and has the potential to demolish par-fives, while Nienaber is a giant with huge levers – the South African is able to propel his ball immense distances with a textbook swing.
Arnaus triumphed twice on the Alps Tour in Italy as an amateur in 2017, then won the Challenge Tour Grand Final the following year. It is reasonable to expect a European Tour breakthrough soon.
Nienaber is inexperienced but he showed in the summer – particularly with fourth place in the English Championship and sixth at Valderrama – that he is already good enough to win professional events.
*All odds correct at time of writing