Golf: Joker Pepperell might have the last laugh on Sunday

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FRESH from another big priced place, European Tour golf specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) returns to share his thoughts on the upcoming Italian Open.

Italian Open | 12th – 15th October 2017 | Sky Sports

Another close one and a decent place last week, lets try and go one better and find a winner. It’s the Italian Open this week, held at the Golf Club Milano for the third time.

The events been bumped to a Rolex Series event this year so the prize money and ranking points are huge so a good field has turned up.

Looking at the last few years neither accuracy or distance stands out as being more important than the other. Instead GIR as is nearly always an important stat seems the important one.

The scores have been low both previous years so it’s probably worth looking at decent putting performances over the last few weeks too for clues. I’ll waste no time here and jump straight into the picks.

Eddie Pepperell 66/1

First up one of the most in form players on tour at the moment, Eddie Pepperell. He’s a bit of a character to say the least is Eddie, well worth following on Twitter.

On the course something has clicked all of a sudden and since May he’s been in very good form. I’ve been tempted to back him a few times but haven’t but see this as a good a time as any.

His recent form reads 7-MC-3-3-5 so to see him available at 66/1 is a pleasant surprise. Over the course of the season he ranks 9th in GIR and 38th in Putting average. Considering he didn’t play well at all over the first part of the season he’s doing pretty well to rank so well.

Last week he ranked 1st in all round stats with the putting being what let him down. If he can improve that just slightly there’s every chance of Eddie being near the top of the leader board come Sunday.

Victor Dubuisson 66/1

Another 66/1 shot who comes into this week on the back of a good showing last week is Victor Dubuisson.

The Frenchman shot a 63 at St Andrews on Sunday to shoot up to 3rd place which followed a 12th in Portugal a few weeks before. In the middle he withdrew from the British Masters after the first round but that’s of no concern. He’s withdrawn from six of his last 27 tournaments so has a habit of it.

When he’s playing and doing it well Victor finds the greens on a regular basis. Consistency isn’t very good over the season but he’s still the 13th best at finding the greens over the season.

His putting isn’t consistent either but is still decent and when it’s working it works well, as shown on Sunday. He’ll be on a high after that closing round and could well carry that form on.

Graeme Storm 80/1

Graeme Storm, 80/1, has ranked 2nd and 4th in all round the last two weeks and that jumped out as something I needed to look at in a bit more detail.

Graeme isn’t someone I’d normally pick out but I can’t ignore him this week. He was 36th last week but the two before saw him in 4th and 3rd so the form is there. Indeed looking deeper something has happened the last four weeks to see an upturn in fortunes but what that I don’t know.

He’s hit 78.25% of greens in his last four tournaments with a putting average of 1.75. Looking at the four tournaments before those he missed every single cut and the numbers tell you why. GIR % was down at 66.67 and putting average at 1.89.

Why the upturn I don’t know but confidence must play a part. Having won already this season back in January he know how to handle the pressure and hopefully he’ll have plenty of it on him on Sunday.

David Drysdale 200/1

Finally, a big price and another old timer in David Drysdale who looks overpriced at 200/1. The Scot arrived in Italy on the back of a 15 last week and 44th the week before.

He was 4th in putting last week and over the course of the season ranks 20th in that statistic. In GIR he ranks 21st and 5th in driving accuracy so has got parts of his game still going very well.

He’s never won on tour, his last win coming in 2006 on the Challenge Tour but has a number of top 10’s to his name. He may not win here but he looks a big price all things considered and worth chancing.

Best Bets

Italian Open – Eddie Pepperell each way (66/1 Stan James)

Italian Open – Victor Dubuisson each way (66/1 Bet365)

Italian Open – Graeme Storm each way (80/1 Coral)

Italian Open – David Drysdale each way (200/1 Bet365)

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