TURIN, Italy -- Francesco Molinari hopes he can be the player this week to keep the European Ryder Cup side's winning streak going.
In the past five weeks, Rory McIlroy has had three victories and Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson one each.
BMW ITALIAN OPEN
The Italian Open, which began in 1972, is being played for the third straight season at Royal Park I Roveri in Turin.
Now Molinari competes at his home BMW Italian Open alongside teammates Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts. The trio has been grouped together for the first two rounds.
"Obviously with the Ryder Cup in two weeks, everything is getting very exciting," Molinari, the 2006 winner, said. "I hope it's going to be good preparation for Chicago.
"It's great to see so many players in the team on good form," he added. "Rory has been amazing and it's really good for the team spirit. The Americans had a really good early season and summer, so it's important to show everyone that the Europeans are ready."
Molinari, 29, says playing in his homeland means even more to him because he now resides in London.
"It's even more special because I don't live here anymore," he said. "It's good to be back and see lots of family and friends.
"I'm playing well and I've had a couple of weeks off to get ready for this week and for the Ryder Cup," he explained. "It's different from normal weeks because of the pressure of the crowd wanting you to do well."
For Kaymer it is one last chance to boost his confidence ahead of his second Ryder Cup appearance. The former world No. 1 hung on to the last qualifying place in Europe's side despite no top-10 finishes since April.
The event also sees the return to action of Molinari's older brother Edoardo. They were together at the last Ryder Cup, but the 31-year-old has not played since early June and underwent wrist surgery a month later.
Defending champion is England's Robert Rock, who has struggled since beating Tiger Woods head-to-head in Abu Dhabi in January. Rock has not had another top-10 finish in a stroke-play event and has missed the cut in four of his last five starts.