Italia Open 2013: Schedule, Tee Times and Groups to Watch in Turin
The European Tour's 2013 Italia Open coincides with the higher-profile FedEx Cup playoffs on the other side of the Atlantic, but this event in Turin still holds significant ramifications for the Race to Dubai.
Not to mention, several prominent players will be looking to claim victory on their home turf, which make them among the headliners in the top groups to watch at Golf Club Torino.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is the defending champion, which made him the first multiple winner of the tournament since Ian Poulter pulled off the feat in 2000 and 2002. However, no one has successfully defended the title since 1931.
Below is a closer look at the schedule, a link to the tee times and which groups to eye in the first 36 holes.
Note: Statistics and information are courtesy of EuropeanTour.com, unless otherwise indicated.
When: Thursday, Sept. 19 to Sunday, Sept. 22
Where: Golf Club Torino in Turin, Italy
TV: Golf Channel
Tee Times: First group is off at 7:10 a.m. GMT (3:10 a.m. EDT). For a complete list of tee times for the first two rounds, visit EuropeanTour.com.
Matteo Manassero, Gregory Bourdy and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
After following his BMW PGA Championship win with a tie for fourth at the Nordea Masters, Matteo Manassero hasn't been able to build on that success.
Who is the more promising young player?
The 20-year-old prodigy is still No. 31 in the Official World Golf Ranking, so it's not as though his career is in any jeopardy. However, he hasn't managed better than a tie for 22nd. In the final three majors of the season, he missed the cut twice and finished tied for 72nd at the PGA Championship.
Gregory Bourdy recently won the Wales Open at Celtic Manor, which makes him at least somewhat of a viable contender. The knack Bourdy has for finding the fairway off the tee nearly 70 percent of the time this season should only help his cause.
Winning back-to-back times in this tournament has proved impossible for over seven decades, but Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano will give it his best shot. It doesn't help this is a different site than last year's tournament, though.
The Spaniard is one of the more unheralded upper-echelon players in the game today, and even posting his seventh top 10 of 2013 may be enough to get him into the top 50 in the world.
Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts and Bernd Wiesberger
Other than Manassero, the 2006 winner of this tournament in Francesco Molinari is the highest-ranked Italian golfer on the planet.
Molinari did win at a different venue, though, so it doesn't necessarily forecast similar conquests here. Also to consider: Molinari hasn't sniffed contention since his career-best major finish with a tie for ninth at the Open Championship.
The Belgian Bomber Colsaerts has hit his own rough patch recently, having missed three of his past four cuts. Bigger events tend to bring out the best in him, which makes him a candidate to continue struggling.
Having said that, the talent level Colsaerts possesses hasn't matched up with the number of trophies he's captured. Perhaps a rather meager field is just what he needs to get back on track.
In fact, the group and Lee Westwood engaged in a friendly Twitter spat over Colsaerts' nickname recently, which he seems to want to change to the "Basher from Bruges."
Bernd Wiesberger, on the other hand, has been a model of consistency for quite some time.
When he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, it was the first time he hadn't made the weekend since last year's Portugal Masters, which were in October.
The Austrian is one of the least discussed 20-somethings brimming with promise. Though he has missed the cut in two of his past three tournaments, those disappointments were sandwiched by a tie for fourth. Don't count him out.
Robert Allenby, David Duval and Jose Maria Olazabal
These three have seen their best golf come and go, but there is plenty of star power here, particularly with regard to the latter two.
At one time, Robert Allenby was considered among the better ball-strikers in the world, but he has fallen off considerably. Putting held him back from winning far more, but he's claimed victory four times apiece on the PGA and European tours.
David Duval came to mind last week after Jim Furyk matched his feat of shooting a round of 59 in the FedEx Cup's BMW Championship.
Credit the 41-year-old Duval for sticking through tough times and injuries, far removed from his glory days of winning the Claret Jug and being the top-ranked player.
Interesting entry in this week's Italian Open. David Duval is playing on a sponsor's invitation. #EuropeanTourGolf— Alistair Tait (@GolfweekTait) September 17, 2013
Jose Maria Olazabal is a two-time Masters champion at Augusta National but oversaw Team Europe's epic comeback in the Ryder Cup as a captain last year.
Save for a round of 76 at the KLM Open last week, however, Olazabal fired three rounds in the 60s and could experience a resurgence of sorts starting Thursday.
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