The European Tour travels to Sicily this week for the inaugural Sicilian Open. Colin Montgomerie and Jeev Milkha Singh will be among those competing at Donnafugata Golf Resort.
After the intense competition of last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, many of the European Tour’s top-ranked players are taking a week away from the circuit. That gives the Tour’s lesser-lights a chance to shine.
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa on the beautiful island of Sicily will provide the perfect stage for the first European Tour event of 2011 to be held on European soil. It’s a relatively new course but home player Constantino Rocca believes that, with seven golf clubs on the island, Sicily is an up-and-coming golf destination.
“Sicily is an important region for the development of golf in our country,” he said. “This tournament comes at the right time. In Sicily you can play golf 12 months a year, and we need to promote the region and let people know that.”
Eight time European Tour number one Colin Montgomerie will be on the start sheet in Italy this week. Italian golf has been greatly buoyed in recent times by the success of the Molinari brothers and young Matteo Manassero and Monty is keen to lend his support.
“Italian golf is in a strong position at the moment and hopefully this tournament will help with this development,” he said. “I’ve always been a great supporter of new events on The European Tour and I’m looking forward to Sicily.”
Venue: Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, Sicily, Italy
Date: March 17-20
Course stats: par 71, 7,182 yards
Purse: €1,000,000, Winner: €166,660
Defending Champion: Inaugural event
Thursday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 9.30am
Friday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 9.30am
Saturday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm
Sunday 20 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 12pm
Jeev Milkha Singh – The Indian is playing himself back into form and has made his last four cuts. He’ll be looking to continue progressing back towards the top of the game and a win here would be the perfect springboard.
Stephen Gallacher – The Scot has already posted two top-10s on the European Tour this year and has not given up hope of earning himself a place at the US Masters. To do that he’ll have to achieve some impressive results. A win in this one would be helpful.
Danny Willett – He’s started 2011 poorly but he’s too talented a player to stay off his game for long. This could be the week the young Englishman kick-start’s his season.
Key hole: 18th. A long par 4 of 480 yards, this is a daunting finishing hole. It’s a dog-leg left with water short and left of the green. To make the approach easier you must try to get maximum distance with your drive. But the further up you go, the more water comes into play.
Skills required: Short game. The greens and their surrounds are tricky on this Gary Player-designed course and it’s a silky touch around the putting surfaces that will win the day here.
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