2017 ROCCO FORTE OPEN
Álvaro Quirós claimed victory at the inaugural 2017 Rocco Forte Open – Verdura, in Sicily, with a par at the second extra hole after a tense play-off with South African Zander Lombard.
Quiros had entered the final round with a five-shot lead and extended it by a further two after six holes as he looked set to romp home, but he dropped five shots on the back nine to give Lombard hope … until the second extra hole.
The tournament was played on a composite course combining the finest holes from Verdura Resort’s two award-winning 18-hole championship courses – the East Course and West Course – and the impressive field enjoyed four days in the Sicilian sunshine.
And Spaniard Quirós led the accolades for the host resort after being presented with the trophy by tournament host, Sir Rocco Forte.
Quirós said: “It’s an unbelievable site; my room is unbelievable and the golf course is a paradise – it is a very complete resort.”
And the stars from the European Tour united in echoing Quirós’ praise for Verdura Resort, hailing it as one of the best and most spectacular tournament venues in the world.
Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who starred for Europe at the 2012 Ryder Cup, said: “I’m really glad we’re here, it’s a beautiful place. The sea is unbelievably calm and blue and it’s a fantastic place to stay at.
“I think you’ve got it all: you’ve got beautiful views but a technical golf course. I liked my first experience of the place a couple of years ago, so when I heard we were coming back here, I put my hand up.”
And local Italian favourite, Matteo Manassero, added: “I am glad to be back. It’s a great place, and it’s particularly great for us all to be back in the south of Italy playing golf – everything seems to taste better, the air is fresher. It’s just wonderful.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn was another of the top names taking part, and he said: “What a beautiful place and what a place to play golf – it’s a good job we have.”
Measuring 7,217 yards, the par-71 lay-out comprised nine holes each from the two Kyle Phillips-designed courses and featured one of the most dramatic finishes in world tournament golf, with the final six holes running adjacent to the coast and set against the magnificent backdrop of the azure Mediterranean Sea.
As well as having the chance to test their skills on Verdura Resort’s world-class golf courses, the players and their families also had the chance to experience the exclusive venue’s array of other first-class facilities during an unforgettable week.