Tyrrell Hatton - poses for the cameras with the Italian Open trophy and the stewards (Getty Images)
The 2018 Italian Open will return to the picturesque surroundings of Lake Garda for the first time in 15 years after Gardagolf Country Club was confirmed as the next host venue of the prestigious tournament from May 31-June 3.
The second Rolex Series event in 2018, the Italian Open has moved in the European Tour’s international schedule from October to May, with the 75th edition of the event now taking place immediately after the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Nestled between the famous Rocca di Manerba, Soiano Castle and the Valtenesi hills, Gardagolf Country Club is one of northern Italy’s most prestigious courses and has produced some memorable golfing moments, with the venue last hosting the national Open in 2003 when Sweden’s Mathias Grönberg claimed a two-stroke victory.
Since then the Italian Open has delivered some incredible triumphs, including from this year’s victor Tyrrell Hatton, who sealed his second European Tour win in seven days with a brilliant birdie at the last to claim the title, following his successful title defence the week prior at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
The Englishman carded six birdies at Golf Club Milano - including five on the back nine - in a flawless 65 on Sunday to win his first Rolex Series event and propel himself to a career-high fifth-placed finish in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of the European Tour, said: “We are delighted to be returning to Gardagolf Country Club, one of Italy’s great golf courses, and with such a stunning location for our members and golf fans at Lake Garda, we are extremely pleased to bring a Rolex Series event to this fantastic venue.
“We saw the Italian Open grow immensely this year with a very strong field competing for a prize fund of US$7 million, and I am certain that another exciting chapter in the history of Italian golf will be written in May, as Italian golf fans also look forward to the preparations that are taking place in their country ahead of The 2022 Ryder Cup.”
Franco Chimenti, President of the Federazione Italiana Golf, added: “Gardagolf Country Club is a fantastic venue for the Italian Open next year and we are thrilled to return here for the 75th edition of our national Open.
“Our tournament has such a proud and rich history, one that brings some of the best golfers in the world to some of the finest golf courses in Italy, and now as a prestigious Rolex Series event, I have no doubt next year will be a huge success.”