Local hero set for Sunday shootout with English raiders
Italian hordes hoping for Molinari glory
Story so far
Ante-post 200-1 chance Matt Wallace leads the Italian Open by two shots going into the final round at Golf Club Milano.
Wallace has been slashed to a best-price 14-5 for the second victory of his short European Tour career. The rookie won his maiden title in May – the Portugal Open – and is hunting an even greater prize in Milan.
Defending champion and local hero, Francesco Molinari, is tied for second place. Alongside the Italian is last week's Dunhill Links winner, Tyrrell Hatton. Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood shares sixth spot, four behind Wallace.
Pre-tournament 13-2 favourite Jon Rahm is in 28th place, eight shots off the pace, while Masters champion Sergio Garcia is one shot ahead of his fellow Spaniard.
-17 Matt Wallace
-15 Francesco Molinari, Tyrrell Hatton
-14 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, George Coetzee
-13 Maximilian Kieffer, Byeong Hun An, Tommy Fleetwood
-12 Ross Fisher, Marcus Fraser, Alejandro Canizares, Matthew Fitzpatrick
14-5 M Wallace, 18-5 T Hatton, F Molinari, 12 K Aphibarnrat, 14 G Coetzee, 16 T Fleetwood, 25 B H An, 28 M Fitzpatrick, 35 R Fisher, 66 bar
Matt Wallace did well to scramble a par four at the final hole of the third round, having hit his drive behind a tree, and the Englishman is thrilled with the state of his game in Milan.
Wallace won six times on the Alps Tour last year before stepping up to the main grade, and three of those successes came in Italy. His fondness for this part of the world is showing.
Wallace is unlikely to be easily caught, and even though Golf Club Milano serves up plenty of birdies, in-running punters are advised to focus on the first three on the leaderboard.
Wallace, Francesco Molinari and Tyrrell Hatton all seem likely to deliver strong final rounds, meaning those at 14 under par or worse have their work cut out.
That belief is underlined by the fact that the two men on 14 under – Kiradech Aphibarnrat and George Coetzee – recently endured final-hole capitulations when chasing titles.
Aphibarnrat blew a golden chance in the KLM Open and Coetzee made a triple-bogey at the 72nd hole of the Portugal Masters.
A shootout between Wallace, Molinari and Hatton is expected, with punting plans dictated to a great degree by pre-tournament positions.
A large each-way investment was recommended on Molinari at 16-1 ante-post, and hopes are high that the sweet-swinging Italian can deliver the triumph his army of followers crave.
Those carrying a decent bet on Molinari could fire cover shots on Wallace and Hatton, who are both still at backable prices. Wallace arguably rates superior value to Hatton for punters looking for just one wager at this stage.
Molinari is putting well this week, which makes this ball-striking machine a formidable proposition. Molinari to beat Coetzee looks the strongest final-round twoball option, while English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Ross Fisher can also be fancied to oblige for twoball punters.
Fitzpatrick, who has a habit of starting tournaments slowly and finishing them like the proverbial train, can account for Alejandro Canizares in the 11.40am (UK and Ireland) match.
And Fisher, who has been swinging superbly in his last five competitive rounds, should outgun Marcus Fraser in the 11.25am contest. A Molinari, Fitzpatrick, Fisher treble may appeal to some.
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