While the 133rd Open Golf Championship takes centre stage this week, it is business as usual for the European Challenge Tour as the players prepare for this week’s Texbond Open at the famous Gardagolf Country Club – one of the most prestigious courses in Italy.
Gardagolf has twice played host to The European Tour’s Italian Open – in 1997 when current Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer secured victory, shooting a course record eight under par 64 in the final round to overhaul José Maria Olazábal and win the title by a stroke.
The 60th Italian Open Telecom Italia returned to Gardagolf last season as Sweden’s Mathias Grönberg secured his fourth European Tour victory.
Ten out of the 14 Challenge Tour winners will bring their considerable talents to Gardagolf, including Italy’s very own Alessandro Tadini, who sits proudly at Number One on the current Challenge Tour Rankings with €78,311.
The 30 year old from Gozzano Novara, secured his maiden Challenge Tour victory at the beginning of the 2004 season at the Costa Rica Open and hasn’t looked back since doing so.
Tadini has registered a further five top ten finishes since his win in Costa Rica, the most notable of which was at the dual ranking Aa St Omer Open where he finished second and won €44,400.
Add to that a ninth place finish at the Tessali Metaponto Open di Puglia e Basilicata, and two fourth places at the Segura Viudas Challenge de España and the Volvo Finnish Open, and you find a player brimming with confidence as a result of his commanding Rankings position.
Victory this week would make Tadini a hard man to catch in the race for the Challenge Tour Number One spot, and would guarantee his place on the 2005 European Tour International Schedule as one of the top 15 Challenge Tour players come the end of the year.
When the Challenge Tour players arrive at Gardagolf, they will find one of the classic Italian parkland courses, overlooked by the Alps with the spectacular Lake Garda glistening nearby – an inspirational setting for a fantastic tournament.