THE ROCCO FORTE OPEN
Location: Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Course: Verdura GC
The European Tour lands in Sicily this week for The Rocco Forte Open. The tournament is at Verdura GC for the first time since 2012. This links-style course on the coast of southern Sicily, with the Mediterranean Sea and mountains as the back drop, will truly make for a picturesque week. The stunning course that is positioned with lemon farms in the distance is not particularly long but will test precision, with narrow fairways and windy conditions. Course history being minimal, recent form, along with greens in regulation and driving accuracy will be weighted highest. Taking a good look at the locals is also never a bad idea.
Key Stats to Winning at Verdura GC
• Greens in Regulation
• Driving Accuracy
2012 - Thorbjorn Oleson
2011 - Raphael Jacquelin
Matteo Manassero $9,500 (25/1)
Manassero has made six consecutive cuts since missing the cut at Qatar Masters in January. His best finish this year is a T3 at Hero Indian Open. The young Italian is hitting 64 percent of fairways and is ranked 15th in GIR. He missed the cut in 2012 but has significantly improved his ball striking since.
Phachara Khongwatmai $9,400 (28/1)
Khongwatmai is one of the rising stars of the golf world. At only 18 he has already proven he can contend. He was T18 at Volvo, second at Perth match play and T20 at Maybank. His only missed cut this year was at Hero. He is 121st in GIR, 126th in driving accuracy and 16th in one-putts. I like his chances this week, and from the odds, so does Vegas.
Trevor Fisher $8,300 (33/1)
The South African just keeps rolling. He has made four straight cuts, with a standout T8 at Trophee Hassan II. Fisher finished T35 last week with three rounds in the 60s. He is hitting almost 75 percent of greens and is 71st in putts per GIR. He can spray it a little bit off the tee but is worth considering.
Paul Peterson $7,200 (80/1)
Peterson has made his last six cuts. His best finish this year was T7 at Joburg. He came in T42 last time out at Volvo. He ranks 71st in GIR and is more than 67 percent in driving accuracy. He appears to be a safe option in this price range.
Haydn Porteous $7,200 (66/1)
Porteous is looking to bounce back from a missed cut at Volvo and get back on track to the form he has shown since February. The long bomber from South Africa has finished as high as T13 this year and is poised to continue his solid season. He hits more than 60 percent of fairways ranks 131st in GIR. Haydn is 66th in one-putts.