Nerve wracking

Spain’s Alvaro Quiros edged out South Africa’s Zander Lombard at the second play-off hole to win the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily and regain his European Tour card.  Since 2011, this 6-time winner on the European Tour dropped to 212th being stopped by some medical issues. Ready to get back, his swing wasn’t at all being rebuilt too many times. Missing the cuts, but going through the last Q-School, he was to play on the Challenge Tour this season. Then

many highly rated players were not attending the comeback of the Sicilian Open, last hosted by the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in 2012, Alvaro was granted a starting time to compete for just one million euros on this occasion.

He played majestically most of the holes till the 6th on the 4th round. He was then 7 strokes in front of any pursuer. At the 18th, he found himself tied with young South African Zander Lombard who was only looking to keeping his playing privileges in 2018… Back to the 18th tee, both played into the wind, missing their targets. Back again at the same tee box, they were a bit better this time, Zander with a 2-iron, Alvaro with his faithful 3-wood. Then the 34 year-old Spaniard, a bit more relaxed, managed two putts (a 50-footer and a gimmy) unmatched by his young opponent for a complicated but well deserved win, his 7th on the European Tour with a full exemption till the end of the 2019 season… And cherry on the cake, he enters this week’s lucrative $7 million BMW PGA Championship, the first tournament in this season’s

Proud member of the Rocco Forte hotel group the Verdura Golf Resort lies on the island’s southern coast, two hours away from Palermo International Airport and just one from Agrigento and its notorious Valley of Temples. Last week, with these exceptional ruins as a backdrop, Verdura was associated with the official introduction of the communication and education program conceived by the Italian Golf Federation to swell the ranks of golfers in Italy and make a huge popular success of the 2022 Ryder Cup to be contested in Rome.

The 5-star hotel is on line with all the other great Rocco Forte addresses. Kyle Phillips, the renowned golf designer, famous for his fine Kingsbarns, a world Top 100 course in Scotland, has inserted two very good layouts here along the seaside, the Sicilian Open being played on a combination of holes from both courses. Add a 60-metre pool, six tennis courts, a world-class spa, four restaurants, five bars, 200 extensive rooms and 60 suites, all with uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean azure waters from their private terrace, and don’t wonder why this place is so successful. ET/PPH