Four of Europe’s leading golfers will join defending champion Francesco Molinari and Masters Tournament Champion Sergio Garcia at the Italian Open, with seven of the top ten in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex set to star at Golf Club Milano from October 12-15.
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood confirmed his participation in next week’s event, along with Sweden’s Alex Noren, England’s Ross Fisher and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, as the race to crown the 2017 European Number One heats up.
The 26 year old Englishman remains on top of the Rankings after an outstanding season. Following a memorable win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship the Englishman has been in red hot form with runner-up finishes at the WGC-Mexico Championship and Shenzhen International plus victory at the HNA Open de France – the second Rolex Series event of the season.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Milan next week for the Italian Open,” said Fleetwood. “I finished tied seventh there last year so I feel pretty comfortable on the course, and I am hoping I can get off to a good start and play well during the week.”
Garcia, who will make his professional debut in Italy next week, sits in second position with fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm in third after he secured victory at the third Rolex Series event of the year, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation, with a dominant display of links golf.
Noren, currently the World Number 15, became the first ever winner of a Rolex Series event when he lifted the BMW PGA Championship trophy at Wentworth in May, as the European Tour season builds to its climax at the US$7 million Italian Open.
“It’s going to be a great challenge next week in Italy,” said the Swede. “The field is shaping up nicely, there are a lot of really talented players, so I’m looking forward to hopefully playing some of my best golf.”
Fisher and Wiesberger, who sit at nine and ten respectively in the Race to Dubai, are also in search of more success, as Molinari prepares to defend his title and move up the Rankings towards the season end.
Fisher said: “I’m excited to get back playing in Italy. The fans are brilliant and with this tournament now part of the Rolex Series, it is going to be even bigger which will really help grow the game out here. They have some very talented players coming through the ranks so I’m looking forward to playing some good golf next week.”
“I always love going back there,” added Wiesberger, who has three top-20 finishes to his name in Italy. “We always have great crowds, the atmosphere during the week is really cool and it’s a good test for us so I am looking forward to playing next week in Milan.”
In its 74th year, the Italian Open returns to Golf Club Milano for the ninth time, entering an exciting new era as one of the eight tournaments which form the prestigious Rolex Series – the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s international schedule, all with a minimum prize fund of US$7million.
With the prize fund more than doubling from last year’s €3million, a strong field including the current Masters Champion and Race to Dubai leader is gathering, with fans permitted free entry to Golf Club Milano to see the world’s best golfers in action.