The Senior Italian Open made its ninth appearance on the Staysure Tour International Schedule in 2019. Here is what happened last time out in Italy.
The 2019 Senior Italian Open belonged to Barry Lane as the Englishman sealed his seventh Staysure Tour title in astonishing fashion.
Lane, whose last win on the over 50s circuit came at the 2017 Willow Senior Golf Classic, forced extra holes at Villaverde Resort by birdieing the 54th hole. If that was not dramatic enough, his play-off record was stacked against him, with three European Tour play-off losses to his name, plus he previously came up short in a six-man play-off at the 2014 MCB Tour Championship.
However, the former Ryder Cup player did not let those stats enter his head as he beat Frenchman Marc Farry on the second extra hole. He stiffed his approach shot at the 18th to eight-foot, and then, with the birdie putt halfway to the hole, walked it in, seeing it drop to clinch the title.
The play-off hoodoo was over, and the 2019 Senior Italian Open was Lane’s to cherish.
Lane’s play-off success against Farry was the third consecutive Senior Italian Open play-off and the fifth staging of the event which needed extra holes to decide the title.
In 2018, American Clark Dennis faced Rafael Gomez of Argentina in a play-off where Dennis’ par on the first extra hole was enough to defend his title that he clinched 12 months earlier, also via a play-off.
The 2017 event was shortened to 36 holes due to severe weather disruption and the title was decided by a play-off between the leading pair. The par-four 18th was shortened to a modified 162-yard par-three, where Dennis drained his birdie putt on the first visit to beat Australia’s Peter Fowler.
Ten years earlier, the 2007 Senior Italian Open was decided via a play-off with Simon Owen capturing the title after a four-man play-off. The Kiwi tackled the par-four 18th alongside Englishmen Tony Allen and Carl Mason, and America’s John Benda.
Owen struck the decisive blow with a majestic wedge to two feet that set up a winning birdie putt, while the challenging trio were unable to match the New Zealander’s effort.
The very first Senior Italian Open play-off took place in 2005 when Gery Watine sealed his first Staysure Tour title, and his first win in 30 years, sinking an 18-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to defeat Eamonn Darcy.
Villaverde Resort is a member of European Tour Destinations’ network of world-class properties. It was the first 2019 Staysure Tour event to be held at one of the 30 locations, as the over 50s circuit visited five European Tour Destinations properties last year.
The European Tour Destinations Senior Classic took place at PGA Catalunya, while London Golf Club, the first member of European Tour Destinations, held the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship once again.
The season-ending MCB Tour Championship took place at two of the world-class venues with Constance Lemuria hosting the MCB Tour Championship – Seychelles ahead of the final event of the year, the MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius, taking place at Constance Belle Mare Plage.