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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Fleetwood can ping the lids and leave Spanish duo behind

Race to Dubai leader comfortable on track

Tommy Fleetwood carded a 63 at Carnoustie last week
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Sky Sports Golf, from 9am Thursday

The marquee afternoon threeball on the first day of the Italian Open sees Spanish superstars Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm join Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood on the tee at 12.15pm UK and Ireland time.

The largest gallery at Golf Club Milano will be following this trio. Masters champion Garcia is making his Italian Open debut, while Rahm has gone above his compatriot in the world rankings, shooting up to number five after a series of fantastic US Tour performances.

Bookmakers believe Garcia and Rahm will boss this threeball, but the value option is the 12-5 outsider. Garcia and Rahm are competing at Golf Club Milano for the first time so may need 18 holes to settle on the tight, fiddly, tree-lined layout.

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Fleetwood already has eight competitive rounds under his belt on this track, having entered the previous two Italian Opens, so he can hit the ground running. He finished 33rd in 2015, carding four under-par rounds, then seventh 12 months ago, closing with a 64, the best Sunday score of anyone in the field.

The chance of Fleetwood getting out of the blocks quicker than his playing partners is also aided by the fact that he played in the Dunhill Links Championship last week. The Southport man had the chance to get his swing in a groove, while Garcia and Rahm were inactive. Rahm has not been in action since the final round of the Tour Championship on September 24.

Fleetwood broke the course record at Carnoustie last week – a second-round 63 – and the layers are not giving the star of this European Tour season enough respect for this Italian Open threeball.

T Fleetwood to win threeball
1pt 12-5 Hills

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Rahm has not been in action since the final round of the Tour Championship
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