Before the action gets under way at Is Molas Resort, we have selected five key facts ahead of the ninth annual Italian Challenge presented by Cashback World.
Dominant Sjöholm set to return
Joel Sjöholm will look to win successive Italian Challenge presented by Cashback World titles when he returns to Is Molas Resort.
The Swede claimed his first European Challenge Tour victory 12 months ago and heads back to Sardinia where he convincingly won by four shots on 24 under par ahead of Chase Koepka and Bradley Neil.
Uno. Due. Tre?
There have been two home-winners of the Italian Challenge presented by Cashback World. Edoardo Molinari was the first Italian to lift the trophy on home soil in 2009 – that year he topped the Rankings and graduated onto the European Tour.
Matteo Delpodio became the second Italian to record the achievement in 2015, and the home crowd will be looking for another homeland victory this year.
Their hopes will rest with Francesco Laporta, who finished tied tenth at the Prague Golf Challenge last week. He also claimed a share of ninth at the Turkish Airlines Challenge earlier in the season before he played the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open on the European Tour where he carded rounds of 69-69-67-68 to finish tied seventh.
Player’s Is Molas influence
The Italian Challenge presented by Cashback World heads back to the picturesque Is Molas Resort in Sardinia, 42 years since it held its first Italian Open.
Baldovino Dassù triumphed at the Italian Open in 1976, a year after Is Molas Resort opened its doors.
The signature Black Course was designed by Gary Player and the course features typical Mediterranean holes with eucalyptus trees, while there are also holes which would not look out of place on a links course located within the Sardinia layout.
Field full of nationalities
11 Italians are teeing it up in Sardinia this week, with 29 countries represented at Is Molas Resort.
The 2017 British Amateur Harry Ellis will make his third professional start after leaving the amateur ranks following the U.S. Open Championship. While Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura will be making his second appearance on the Challenge Tour after also departing the amateur ranks.
Eyes on the formbook
Last week’s winner in Prague Ben Stow will be one to keep a close eye on in Italy. The Englishman claimed his first Challenge Tour victory by one shot over Joel Girrbach after a stunning seven under par round of 65 on the final day.
Joachim B. Hansen is one more victory away from an automatic promotion to the European Tour. The Dane claimed the Made in Denmark Challenge presented by Ejner Hessel two weeks ago and coupled with his win at the Turkish Airlines Challenge in April, has begun his surge to stardom. Adri Arnaus could also cement his place in the top 15 on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah with a victory this week following eight top 20 finishes in a row.