With the 2017 Italian Open now on the Rolex Series roster everything pointed to it being a memorable week in northern Italy, and that’s exactly how it turned out...
Great weather, a fine field, an entertaining golf course, passionate fans and a worthy winner all combined to make it an occasion worthy of its premium status on the Race to DubaI – let’s recap last week’s event and what made it so special.
A Wonderful Winner
In Tyrrell Hatton, the Italian Open has a new champion who is making waves in the game of golf, and a player who is in the form of his life. The 26 year old arrived at Golf Club Milano on the back of successfully defending his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title with a record-breaking victory at St Andrews, and after rounds of 69, 64 and 65 headed into the final day in Italy two shots off the pace.
A dramatic final day in Milan saw birdies and eagles flying in everywhere, and Hatton soon found himself up against it after a slow start which saw the Englishman make just a single birdie in his first 11 holes. Some players might have panicked or admitted defeat, but not Hatton, who reeled off four straight birdies from the 12th to 15th holes to get back in the mix.
Well well well!!!!— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) October 15, 2017
You just have to love this young man.
He is turning into one hell of a player
Well played @TyrrellHatton
October in northern Italy can be a cold affair, but last week we got lucky. Although it was chilly in the mornings, by the time the afternoon came around the sun was out shining down on Parco di Monza from a cloudless sky. It was a week for tee shirts, sunglasses and the famous Italian gelato. Some would say it was perfect golf weather, with the very low-scoring reflecting that.
A strong Field
Six of the world’s top 20 players played last week, and it didn’t go unnoticed among the locals who seemed to cherish the chance to see the likes of Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Alex Noren in action. All three are ranked in the world’s top 15, and the two Spaniards in particular were star attractions all week, especially over the first two days, with the compatriots playing alongside one another.
The Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood was also in town, and the popular Englishman didn’t disappoint, firing a Moving Day 63 and spending at least 15 minutes after each of his rounds signing autographs and posing for pictures. Molinari meanwhile, who is always a star in that part of the world, put up a valiant defence of the title he won so dramatically a year ago, and in Hatton, we saw yet more evidence of just how far he is capable of going in the game.
An Interesting Layout
Golf Club Milano presented a unique challenge to the players last week with its narrow fairways and small, challenging greens. The tree-lined course, which is adjacent to the famous Monza racetrack, had the players thinking and having to hit a variety of shots, especially on the fourth and eighth holes, which both proved to be challenging from the tee, with the fourth in particular seeing the players having to fire their tee shot through one of the narrowest gaps you’ll see on the European Tour all season.