GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Italian Open.
Italian Open | 22nd-29th October 2020 | Sky Sports
The European Tour heads to Brescia in Italy for their next tournament and even though this year's event is no longer part of the lucrative Rolex Series, we still have a very good tournament in store.
Chervo Golf Club plays host of the Italian Open for the very first time, so there's very little to go off. However, as a tourist parklands resort course, it should prove to be an easy birdiefest for much of this field – wide forgiving fairways, flat and exposed.
It's designed by Kurt Rossknecht, who has seen a number of course on Tour in the past – namely Munchen Eichenried, which has held the BMW International Open in Germany periodically.
We're dealt a mixed field of players, there are some stars with Matt Wallace, Martin Kaymer, Bernd Wiesberger and Lee Westwood in town but aside from that, it isn't the absolute strongest it could be but that was a given after the drop-off in prize money.
Adri Arnaus (33/1 Betfred)
All four of those names could be in contention come Sunday as they appear to correlate well but instead, I'll begin the staking plan with Adri Arnaus (33/1 Betfred), who could be spurred on by his fellow countryman Adrian Otaegui's victory last week.
What I like about the emerging Spaniard is the fact that he can contend at pretty much any test – that much is seen with tests in his own country, a runner-up at the impossible tree-lined Valderrama and 4th place at a similar track to this in Club de Campo – so the easier conditions here this week could see him elevate into the winners' circle.
He has recently displayed signs of being able to rack up a low score. His final-round 65 at Galgorm (Irish Open) was only bettered by two players across the whole week whilst that was followed up with a 66-67 in Scotland and then a share of the first-round lead at Wentworth. He's a superb ball-striker who should thrive at a forgiving course like this. If that putter behaves, then he'll be right in the mixer.
Chris Paisley (55/1 Betfred)
In contrast, I'll look to someone who is one of the best in this field with the flat stick, Chris Paisley (55/1 Betfred). These sort of resort-like tests are right up his street – his impressive form in Portugal provides encouragement for this train of thought. He came fourth at the weekend with his game seemingly in a perfect place in pretty much every aspect – can he ride the wave once again?
He ranks 3rd on the entire tour for putts per GIR and has an ability to rack up the birdies (36th on tour). He likes Italy (T3 in 2016) and has proven he can indeed continue in a hot streak. His sole ET win back in 2018 was followed up with back-to-back fifth-place finishes.
Laurie Canter (55/1 Coral)
It would be rude not to return to Laurie Canter (55/1 Coral). He very nearly gave us victory in Portugal just three starts ago, the week before John Catlin walked home a winner. He was 66/1 that week, which isn't too much longer than what we're receiving here. It wasn't his fault that he walked into ball-wrecking George Coetzee on a course he frequently delivers at.
He may have missed the cut in Scotland at the weekend, but in these times, this could actually be a benefit with the travelling and hassle the bubble will bring.
He was T14 in Ireland sandwiched in between Portugal and Scotland, so surely his game hasn't gone out the window in just two days of competitive action. He can bounce back at the sort of test he clearly thrives in. His numbers for the season are off the charts, so I am indeed willing to write off his attempt last week.
Ninth for birdie scoring, 15th for driving distance, 29th for GIR. These are all statistics that point towards him doing well here this week.
Justin Walters (125/1 Betfair)
There's room for just one more name this week and we'll go to a longshot in Justin Walters (125/1 Betfair). He showed some life in Scotland after a run of four missed cuts. Perhaps that dismal spell was a consequence of him losing in a playoff against Rasmus Hojgaard at the Belfry. If he has indeed bounced back at last, then he's worth a look at three-figures.
He ranks inside the top-40 on tour for driving distance, birdie scoring and GIR, and has shown up in similar events in Portugal, Holland and in Italy too (T10 last year & 5th in the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2012). He'll turn 40 on Friday, so maybe that'll give some added motivation heading into the weekend. 125/1 is quite generous.