Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's European Tour event, the Italian Open at Chervo Golf Club.
ZOZO Championship Winner
- Golf expert Niall Lyons has four tips for the ZOZO Championship, including a 40/1 headline selection.
- The ZOZO Championship will take place at Sherwood Country Club, between Thursday 22nd and Sunday 25th October.
- Jon Rahm is currently the favourite to win this week's PGA Tour event, at a best price of 10/1.
It's a warm welcome back for Sherwood Country Club, a venue we haven't set eyes on since the last World Challenge it hosted back in 2013. For 14 years it hosted that event and was always a fascinating one from a punting perspective with the nature of the course lending itself towards ruling out a chunk of the field. We look down the winners of those years and bar Tiger winning it five times, we have the likes of Donald, Furyk, Zach Johnson and McDowell (twice) lifting the trophy here. Folk who can move the ball with ease have an advantage here and clearly those with more strategic approaches to the game flourish here.
Tommy Fleetwood at 40/1 (7 places)
To my eye, Tommy Fleetwood looks a perfect fit for this track and given he has gone quite well lately with the odd mishap I feel the 40/1 out there is certainly worth playing. It has been a busy period for Fleetwood now playing his 6th event in 7 weeks and a lacklustre showing at the CJ Cup is understandable given the schedule. With not far to travel to this week's event I think he should stirp fitter for that outing and has the perfect game to make it pay at Sherwood. He finished 13th at Wentworth with his work on and around the greens costing him a higher finish. He finished 4th in strokes gained off the tee in Surrey. He bettered Hatton in rounds 2 and 3 by 1 shot and overall at their best there is not a huge pile between these two. Tommy is double the price, however, and I'd argue better suited to the track. The putter has been causing him problems lately but the advantage he should gain from tee to green this week makes him a contender.
2pts each-way T. Fleetwood 40/1 (1/5 7 places)
Webb Simpson at 18/1 (win only)
Harbour Town could prove a vital link in finding the winner here. McDowell and Furyk have tasted success on both tracks whilst other winners Zach and Donald have gone close to winning there, Donald especially. Webb Simpson won this year at Harbour Town and looks the ideal candidate to go well here at Sherwood. Simpson finished 5th and 7th here on his last two outings at Sherwood and arrives here a much better golfer than he was back then. The mere fact he had an opportunity to nab the world No.1 spot a few weeks ago tells us that. His recent form figures read 3-6-17-8-13 with the highlight of those a top ten in the US Open. He has made a career out of playing these shorter, more strategic tracks well and looks better equipped than a lot around him in the market. Stats are off the charts is one of the likelier winners.
3pts WIN W. Simpson 18/1
Abraham Ancer at 50/1 (7 places)
The runner up to Simpson at Harbour Town, Abraham Ancer is another who looks worth a play. He gained shots in all departments last week bar approach and the same applied the week before he finished 4th at the Shriners. I feel his best chances come on these types of tracks that require an ounce of strategy and I expect the Mexican to take to Sherwood. He is also capable of some tremendous putting weeks and would be a huge contender if he manages one of those. We saw at the Presidents Cup just how much of a competitor he is and I don't think he will remain winless on the PGA Tour for an awful long time. It's a week where a lot of the market leaders are swashbuckling big hitters and I don't believe they hold the key to unlocking this track.
1.5pts each-way A. Ancer 50/1 (1/5 7 places)
Corey Conners at 125/1 (7 places)
Corey Conners is an extremely risky one given his putting woes but on a course that should reward his excellent long game and ball striking I'm happy to play at triple figures. The Canadian hasn't quite kicked on since winning the Texas Open last year but the ability is retained there to win on any given week should he manage to putt well. At Sherwood we have a venue that rewards a solid tee to green game and Conners ranks highly in all the aspects we want here. He does however rank just about last in putting and therein lies the reason he is priced up like this. Course fit hasn't quite been factored in though and I'd be confident this suits Conners. Worth chancing.
1pt each-way C. Conners 125/1 (1/5 7 places)