Designed by Kyle Phillips, the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort has two 18-hole championship courses which sit amongst citrus groves, olive trees, vineyards and the beautiful Sicilian coastline.
The East and West courses at Verdura feature gently undulating fairways and has that links feel that Kyle Phillips work is renowned for. A good Scottish breeze will have sea-spray on your face standing on the green at the par-four 8th on the West Course. The two courses intertwine and are of similar character and feel, an intentional design feature that allows the two courses to combine to host such tournaments like this week’s Sicilian Open.
My tips to win:
Matteo Manassero 8/1 is the bookmakers favourite and it’s not hard to see why. With a 65 in his third round in last week’s Trophée Hassan II it put him in great position but he couldn’t take advantage and now misses out on playing in the Masters for the second year on the spin. But the young Italian will want to make a statement in front of his home fans this week
Jamie Donaldson 16/1 comes into this tournament in fantastic form after shooting a final round 61, his lowest ever round. That final round lifted him from tied 43rd up into joint 3rd and bagged him a nice € 77,500 cheque. Jamie has only had one other Top 20 finish this year at the Dubai Desert Classic but he did have thirteen Top 25 finishes with eight of those coming in the Top 10 last year, so look for the Welshmen to be coming into a long run of good form.
South African Branden Grace 28/1 finally got back into the Top 25 after his win at the beginning of the year at the Volvo Golf Champions. But Branden promptly missed the cut in his next event. He has slowly been moving up the field and broke into the Top 25 at last week’s Trophée Hassan II so hopefully his steady progress will continue this week.
My each way tips:
Its been a bit of a roller coaster year for José Manuel Lara 40/1 who was in a very strong position going into the final round of last week’s Trophée Hassan II but a final round of 72 dropped him down to ninth place. José already has another Top 10 finish two weeks’ ago at the Avantha Masters where he finished forth.
Tano Goya 66/1 has struggled the last couple of week’s after two consecutive Top 15 places at the Dubai Desert Classic and his sixth place finish at the Avantha Masters. I do think the Argentine is destined to do well on the European Tour and hopefully he will get back to the form that see him do so well in February.
I tipped Robert Coles 100/1 several times last year, none least in that ill-fated Avantha Masters where he was on the final green in two and needed two to win and three to get in a play-off and took four! Robert did have four other Top 25 finishes last year and his stunning third round 65 in last week’s Trophée Hassan II which he followed up with a final round 67 to take third place, sees the West Ham supporting Essex lad coming into this tournament full of confidence.
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