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In 2017, following a four-year hiatus, the golf tournament was resurrected with added aplomb, supported by Rocco Forte Hotels and its founder, Sir Rocco Forte, a keen golfer. The new Rocco Forte Sicilian Open was a marked success, a combination of strategic holes and award-winning facilities. From the onset, two titans clashed above the others: Álvaro Quirós of Spain and Zander Lombard of South Africa. Over four days, they struggled against one another, yet neither athlete would concede. The duel would have to be decided by play-off. 

The winner

Finally, Álvaro Quirós claimed victory with a par at the second extra hole of the play-off – after almost losing a seven-shot lead to the tenacious South African. He was the first to win the grand Sicilian Open trophy in four years, receiving it personally from Sir Rocco Forte. “Verdura is an unbelievable site,” Quirós enthused, “my room is unbelievable and the golf course is a paradise – it is a very complete resort.”

In their own words

The stars from the European Tour united in echoing Quirós’ praise for Verdura Resort, hailing it as one of the most spectacular tournament venues in the world. “I think you’ve got it all,” notes Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts. “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.”