The second round of the Italian Open takes place in Brescia on Friday and it is a big day for the field. Those who didn’t have the first round that they wanted on Thursday will need a big one to make the cut while the players who went well on Thursday will be looking for a repeat to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
Thursday was an extremely low scoring day and conditions are likely to ensure that is the case on Friday too as we reach the halfway stage of the second Rolex Series event of the season.
At the end of a long day in the Italian treelines we have three men leading after Laurie Canter, Robert Rock and Richard Sterne all posted eight under 63s. They lead by two from a large group on six under that contains Thomas Pieters, Danny Willett, Matt Wallace and Thorbjorn Olesen among others. Francesco Molinari, Jamie Donaldson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood are among the group on five under after 18 holes.
It was an up and down betting day for us on Thursday. We landed a place with Olesen in the first round leader market but he shared it with what seems like half the field while we had a dead heat with Dean Burmester too so we’ve got plenty of work ahead on Friday.
There is a market up for the second round leader but I think it is a dangerous one to bet on. None of the front three are what you would call massively reliable and likely to follow up a standout round with another good one and there is just too much in the chasing pack, which is too bunched up anyway, to be able to bet with any certainty. Given how soft the course is and how bunched the field is I would imagine there will be plenty of ties around too which as I discovered on Thursday isn’t ideal so I’ll leave the deeper markets alone.
Friday 3 Balls
The same groups go out onto the golf course that went out on Thursday albeit the other way around so if a group was out in the morning on Thursday they will be out in the afternoon on Friday. The pick of the pairings out on the course on Thursday was the one between Thomas Pieters, Ross Fisher and Francesco Molinari who combined for a 17 under par total. They are out at 12.40 BST on Friday. There are two groups that I like from a betting point of view on Friday.
Thorbjorn Olesen/Thongchai Jaidee/Andy Sullivan
Match tees off at 07.50 BST
Thorbjorn Olesen beat Andy Sullivan by two shots and Thongchai Jaidee by six on the opening day of the tournament and given how soft the course is going to be on Friday morning after the storms and rain in the area in recent times I think he can extend his advantage in this second round.
You would have to say that statistically Olesen was poor from tee to green but his misses were narrow ones and his short game was perfect. He excels in these softer conditions and I fancy him to take advantage again on Friday. Sullivan and Jaidee couldn’t get anything in the hole on Thursday. That might be a reaction to playing four rounds at Wentworth last weekend but Olesen also did that. I think the Dane can win this group again.
Nino Bertasio/Andrew Johnston/Lucas Bjerregaard
Match tees off at 12.20 BST
The other match that interests me comes in the afternoon when local player Nino Bertasio is out with Andrew Johnston and Lucas Bjerregaard once again. The Dane followed up his good form last week to win this group by a shot on Thursday.
I expect him to maintain that advantage too. I’m not convinced Johnston is long enough to be as dominant around here as he might need to be. Bertasio is but he had no long game with him at all on Friday which is a major concern. Bjerregaard is playing great golf at the minute. He arrived here in red hot form and his all-round game was pretty decent on Thursday. A repeat of that should see him outscore his partners again here.
DEAD HEAT – Back T.Olesen to beat A.Sullivan & T.Jaidee for a 3/10 stake at 2.88 with Coral
Back L.Bjerregaard to beat A.Johnston & N.Bertasio for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Ladbrokes