Rcb and Aiken Worth Adding
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2pts e.w. Thorbjorn Olesen at 33/1 (Ladbrokes 1/4 1,2,3,4,5).
1pt e.w. Chris Wood at 50/1 (Ladbrokes 1/4 1,2,3,4,5).
1.5pts e.w. Rafael Cabrera-Bello at 35/1 (bet365 1/4 1,2,3,4,5).
1pt e.w. Thomas Aiken at 66/1 (Coral 1/4 1,2,3,4,5).
0.5pt e.w. Andrea Pavan at 275/1 (bet365, sportingbet 1/4 1,2,3,4,5).
For the fourth year in succession, the European Tour returns to Royal Park in Turin for the BMW Italian Open.
Last year's event was a breakthrough moment for England's Robert Rock, who won his first European Tour title at the 209th attempt, and he's back among a strong field for an event switched from early- to late-summer.
Weather reports from Italy suggest it's been a beautiful weekend but storms are forecast in the run-up to Thursday's first round, which could saturate this par 72 layout and hand the advantage to longer hitters.
In the past, distance off the tee has proven something of an asset given four lengthy par-fives, but typically winners have been those who've hit plenty of greens and putted well once on the large, undulating surfaces.
Described as a 'typical Italian course' by home hope Matteo Manassero, the Robert Trent Jones-designed Royal Park I Roveri is well bunkered, and water comes into play significantly on seven of the holes.
Whoever leads going into the final few on Sunday will have to navigate the tricky par-four 16th and 17th holes before having a genuine eagle opportunity on the last, while with winning scores of 21-, 16- and 17-under par, it's fair to assume we'll witness plenty of low numbers this week.
As I wrote in yesterday's preview, my strongest fancy for the event is Thorbjorn Olesen, already advised at 33/1.
Last year, Olesen fired an opening 65 on his course debut before rounds of 71 and 70 left him five shots adrift of Rock's lead with 18 holes to play.
After playing the first six holes of his final round in six-under, the Dane erased the deficit with interest in a further demonstration of the outstanding ability that has since seen him star alongside idol Tiger Woods in the Open Championship, where he finished ninth.
Back to last year, and Olesen birdied four of his final seven holes to post 20-under, responding admirably to a bogey on the par-five 11th, a hole that ranked the second-easiest for the week.
Were it not for that blot on the scorecard, we could've been talking about one of the most stunning final-round victories in the history of the European Tour, but Olesen - who had been tipped by my colleague David John at 200/1 - ultimately settled for second.
Those of you who read David's preview may recall that he identified a trend in young Thorbjorn's play, a trend which suggests that he brings his best golf to Italy regardless of the state of his game.
If his second place wasn't enough to convince you of David's theory, surely his victory in this year's Sicilian Open was - that came via a winning score of 15-under on a par 72 layout, too.
Olesen tweeted that he loves Italy this morning and the facts back that up entirely, so he was always going to be on the radar at an event where he put together the lowest round of his European Tour career so far.
Throw in the fact that he finished ninth, fifth, 27th and 15th in his four starts prior to the Omega European Masters - two of which were in majors - and the case is clear, especially as he's shown no affinity for Crans-sur-Sierre so far which means we can ignore that most recent formline.
I don't quite consider him the most likely winner of this event, but I genuinely believe that he has a similar chance to 12/1 second-favourite Nicolas Colsaerts and 33/1 was simply too big.
In addition to getting on Olesen early-doors, I also advised a punt on Chris Wood at a standout 50/1.
The Bristolian was forced to withdraw from the European Masters a fortnight ago with a back spasm, but returned to action with a solid enough share of 43rd in Holland last week.
With that behind him, I expect Wood to challenge in an event which has seen him finish third and 23rd in two starts, with last year's effort including an opening 64 before he dropped out of contention at the weekend.
Wood finished second to Olesen in the Sicilian Open this year, which means that in four starts in Italy he's placed twice and hasn't finished outside of the top 40.
Encouragingly, he ranked third for greens hit here last year and second in 2010, so the lines of Royal Park clearly suit his eye.
As is often the case, his performance this week should really come down to whether or not he putts well, and with that in mind I'm encouraged that he cited a new putting drill as the trigger for his first win as a professional, which came on the OneAsia Tour just a month ago.
Wood shot 23-under on a par 72 that week for a two-stroke win and it really should provide the springboard for a first European Tour success, which may just come on a layout that allows players to freewheel rather than fight for par.
After all, the last two champions were winning their first titles on Tour, so perhaps Wood can make it a maiden hat-trick and reward backers at 50s.
With those two in the bag early, the best value currently on offer looks to be Rafael Cabrera-Bello at 35/1.
The Spaniard seems like the forgotten man of this tournament to me, given that he's a winner this year, is bang in-form, has shown a liking for the layout and was being spoken of as a potential Ryder Cup wildcard just three weeks ago.
His victory in the Dubai Desert Classic - which came courtesy of an 18-under winning total on a par 72 layout - suggested that he's finally fulfilling the potential he demonstrated with that stunning Austrian Open success in 2009.
That certainly looked the case when he finished third in the Volvo World Match Play Championship, but it was his third in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush that really impressed me.
For the first time, the Spaniard really convinced me that he can take his exceptional ball-striking to any course, as he should be able to, and that's why I'm prepared to chance him this week.
Form figures of MC-63 since the event moved here suggest it's a layout Cabrera-Bello doesn't fancy, but remember he opened with a seven-under 65 last year so he can score at the course, and he's a much better player now.
Better still, he was fifth in the 2008 Piemonte Open on the Challenge Tour, played at Royal Park, and at the time he'd shown nothing bar a share of third in the Barclays Kenya Open.
Cabrera-Bello ranks 17th for greens hit this year, 41st for putts per greens in regulation, and advertised how well he's playing with a share of 10th at Gleneagles last time, in an event that had seen him miss his previous three cuts.
Having ranked inside the top 25 for ball-striking and putting in Scotland, I expect him to contend after a three-week break.
Next on my list is Thomas Aiken, with Coral's 66/1 a price I'm more than happy to take.
Last year's winner of the Open de Espana, a victory that came on a par 72, has had a quiet year so far, but a share of seventh in the Open Championship suggested a return to his best may be imminent.
Missed cuts in the PGA Championship and at Crans are pretty easy to forgive, especially as he closed with a round of 66 to finish 26th in the KLM Open on Sunday.
Given that Aiken typically ranks inside the top 40 or so on Tour in distance off the tee, it's hugely encouraging that he led the field in fairways hit last week, and with potentially wet, relatively long rough at Royal Park that will be a huge asset.
Any venue with four par fives is going to suit the South African, who putted beautifully on his way to fifth in this event three years ago, before taking 22nd in 2010 when ranking eighth for greens hit.
My colleague John Rhodes reckons there could be something in a link between this venue and Leopard Creek in South Africa (Rock has an exceptional record there and several others enjoy both courses), and if he's right then I'm encouaged that Aiken has twice placed in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
All things considered, I think he's a shade overpriced at 66/1.
I'd like to get Raphael Jacquelin on-side given the positive signs he showed a week ago but he's just a shade shorter than expected, and four strong fancies are already in the bag.
So, the net is cast further and Andrea Pavan completes the list, narrowly in preference to Peter Whiteford.
Whiteford has an exceptional record at the course and has a win in Italy under his belt, so with Scottish golfers firing in wins of late I fancy he could be inspired to a return to form.
But he doesn't rate a 125/1 shot in my book so we'll head to Pavan, who could just surprise in front of his home crowd.
Many people fancy Tommy Fleetwood this week and it's easy to see why, given his affinity with Italy and recent upsurge in form, but for me the man who finished second to him in last year's Challenge Tour standings rates better value.
It's fair to say that his form is poor - he's missed a bunch of cuts lately and hasn't finished in the top 20 since February - but he said on Twitter that this event will be the turning point in his season and hopefully he can live up to his own words.
The 23-year-old from Rome has finished 22nd and 23rd in two starts in this event, the first of which came as an amateur, and he won the season-ending Grand Final in Puglia last year to further demonstrate that he performs well on home turf.
He followed that up by finishing seventh at Leopard Creek and with plenty to play for he's worth a small bet.