To hold myself accountable and keep track of how things are going on a week-to-week basis. This should help me get better at identifying key players as well as sharpening my eye when it comes to player pools. Last week’s recommendations were Rahm (winner), Rafa (2nd), Sergio (T7), Korhonen (T17), Bjork (MC), Larrazabal (T33), Winther (T4), Walters (68th), Pavan (T12), Evans (T37), but missed cuts came from Campillo, Lemke, Gagli, Bhullar, Li, Leon, Paratore, and Fdez-Castano means we could’ve built lineups with two players in the Top 5 and nobody else made the cut. As I mentioned, last week I was at a crossroads as to how I was going to build my lineups, and that didn’t change as I built two stars and scrubs lineups and one balanced. Naturally the balanced lineup did better than the other two, but it was a loss on the week.
This week we head to Italy for the Italian Open. This course hasn’t hosted the event since 2002, when Ian Poulter beat Paul Lawrie, but the guts of the course remain the same and we should be targeting the same type of player as Poulter – accurate off the tee, strong ball striker and good lag putter. The course is long at just over 7,500 yards, the fairways are wide, but also tree-lined making the property feel tighter than it is and the greens are large with a good amount of bunkering around them as protection from low scores.
Water comes into play on five holes, but the bigger issue is the rough and trees. The Par 3’s are tough here as they average over 200 yards long and there are six Par 4’s that measure over 450 yards. Being accurate with your long irons is something I’d look for in my player selection this week. I’d expect more of what we’ve seen in the past at this event and the winning score should be around -18 to -20.
- The Course
- Olgiata Golf Club
- Par: 71
- Yardage:7,500 yards
- Location: Largo Olgiata, Italy
- Past Champions: None at this course
- 2018: Thorbjorn Olesen -22 over Francesco Molinari
- 2017: Tyrrell Hatton -21 over Kiradech Aphibarnrat & Ross Fisher
- 2016: Francesco Molinari -22 over Danny Willett
- 2015: Rikard Karlberg -19 in a playoff over Martin Kaymer
KEY STATS TO TARGET
- Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Par 5 scoring, Birdies or better, Scrambling
- Important – Par 4 Scoring, Par 3 scoring (look for guys who manage them well), Current Form
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
Paul Casey (DK $11,500)
- Form: DNP – DNP – 11th– DNP
- Stats: Not enough events on Euro Tour
- Analysis: He’s not a sexy play (hint: nobody in this section is), but he is a solid play who provides upside as we’ve seen him win on the European Tour as recently as a month ago. Casey does everything we need him to do and does it very well. He just needs to start off faster than he usually does.
Justin Rose (DK $11,200): Like Casey, he’s not a sexy play and one could even ask why he’s here because this isn’t the type of event or field, we’d expect to see him in. That being said, he’s extremely good from tee to green and has the ability to drop putts. I’d expect the masses to consider other players who are cheaper than him and build more balanced lineups, which makes him a GPP target for me.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (DK $9,800): Yep, boring golfer whose short & straight off the tee. Fitz hasn’t regained his elite form from the early part of the fall, but this course should suit his game perfectly. I considered making him a core play, but I like Willett a bit more at around the same price, but both have winning upside. I’d look to mix Fitz into both cash and GPP lineups.
Mikko Korhonen (DK $7,300)
- Form: 17th– DNP – 37th– 65th
- Stats: 76th– SG: OTT, 41st– SG: T2G, 40th– SG: APP, 86th– SG: P
- Analysis: Solid from tee to green as he’s climbed twenty spots in both SG: T2G and SG: APP over the last week. He’s a solid value play who should go well this week again as he’s done so often this season. He’ll be a core play for me by the time lineup lock rolls around.
Andy Sullivan (DK $7,200): Short hitter who typically plays well on courses that suit his game and this week is shaping up to be one of them. He’s 3/5 in cuts made over his last five, but outside of Wentworth I’d argue he hasn’t played courses playing to his strengths. With Sullivan, I prefer to play him when he’s priced as a value as opposed to a favorite and that’s what we’re dealing with this week.
Jeff Winther (DK $7,200): 4th – 36th – 11th in his last three events and hasn’t missed a cut in forever. Winther’s been a value play we’ve been riding for most of the year and he’s been paying off so we’re sticking with him. He’s 5th in SG: Putting this season, which is basically how he keeps getting it done.
Honorable Mentions – Aaron Rai (DK $7,000), Benjamin Hebert (DK $7,000), Julian Suri (DK $6,800)
THE PUNT PLAYS
Edoardo Molinari (DK $7,200)
- Form: 23rd– MC – 64th– 21st
- Stats: 74th– SG: OTT, 104th– SG: T2G, 120th– SG: APP, 2nd– SG: P
- Analysis: Only one missed cut in his last four events is much better than I would’ve expected from the senior Molinari Bro. He’s not as good as he once was (which in my opinion has never been that good), but being that it’s his home Open, it makes sense to play him in some capacity as he’s sure to get up for playing in front of friends and family.
Luke Donald (DK $7,100): Short, but accurate off the tee and good with his long irons, Donald seems like Danny Willett- lite this week (especially at this price). He hasn’t had the finishes as Willett lately, but he is two weeks removed from a Top 10 and we need some salary relief.
Honorable Mentions: Sebastian Soderberg (DK $6,900), James Morrison (DK $6,800), Jens Dantorp (DK $6,500)
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
Francesco Molinari (DK $10,900): The course calls for players who are good with their long irons, and that’s exactly what FMOL does well. If he gets in the zone early with his irons, watch out as he could run away with this one. Being in front of family and friends has never affected him as he’s a two-time Italian Open winner, so there’s no concern with playing a home game this week.
Danny Willett (DK $10,000): Won at Wentworth three weeks ago, followed that up with a Top 30 (which is better than fine), Willett’s game has resurged to where it was leading into his Masters victory a few years ago and I expect him to get back to being a Top 20 golfer in the world. A win this week would help his case.
Guido Migliozzi (DK $7,500): Speaking of home games and players surging up the World Golf rankings, since 2018 (Italian) Guido has climbed over 400 spots and currently sits at #110 in the world. He finished T7 at the Porsche European Open which was his first good finish since winning the Belgian Knockout. We know he has talent and while this field may be a bit too strong for him to win, he certainly has what it takes to play well and can do it at a lower cost than some of the players at the top of the board.
Fabrizio Zanotti (DK $7,000): T12 last week on a course that didn’t exactly suit his game, following a T46 at the Dunhill means we’ve got a supreme value play in form. Zanotti’s strengths are off the tee (18th), on approaches (36th), and around the green (83rd). He just needs to putt well in order to easily pay off this price. I’m willing to roll him out at core exposures this week.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
- Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)