European Tour: Rocco Forte Sicilian Open Preview

Golfer admires his shot

We take a look at the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open set to take place at Verdura Resort between 10 May and 13 May. 

The European Tour has the unenviable task of playing second fiddle to the Players Championship this week, which will likely mean that this will be the weakest European Tour event played in Europe all season. The event was inaugurated in 2011 under the guise of the Sicilian Open.

Verdura Resort played host to the Sicilian Open for the first time in 2012, before the event took a four year sabbatical from the tour. It returned last year under new sponsorship and the Tour will once again return to the Verdura Resort on the Mediterranean Island of Sicily.

Rocco Forte Sicilian Open | 10 May - 13 May | Verdura Resort, Sicily 

Situated near the seaside town of Sciacca, the Verdura Resort will host its third full European Tour event this week. The players will actually be playing a composite course, as the event will be comprised of nine holes apiece from two Kyle Phillips designed courses. The links-style courses are flat and highly exposed to the coastal conditions, with the final six holes running adjacent to the coastline. Players with links credentials and the ability to navigate blustery conditions should be able to find reward this week.

Clearly the Players Championship has had a huge knock-on effect on the quality of competition this week. The European Tour has really been suffering of late and it’s no wonder that events such as the GolfSixes have been introduced to jazz things up. Defending champion Alvaro Quiros has shown some recent signs of form while the likes of Eddie Pepperell have already won on tour this year. 2012 champion Thorbjorn Olesen is also in attendance while the likes of Andy Sullivan and add some desperately needed prestige to the event.

Past Winners
2017: Alvaro Quiros (-14)*playoff
2013-2016: no tournament
2012: Thorbjorn Olesen (-15)
2011: Raphael Jacquelin (-12)

To Win Outright: 
Andy Sullivan 12/1, Thorbjorn Olesen 16/1, Eddie Pepperell 25/1, Alvaro Quiros 28/1, Andrea Pavan 28/1

Value Bets

Julian Guerrier- To Win 35/1, To Place 15/2
These ‘opposite’ events often present the opportunity for young emerging players to really press their case and emerge from obscurity. Julian Guerrier could be that man this week. Firstly, he has course credentials, having finished eighth in last season’s Sicilian Open. He also has mixed it up fairly well amongst much stronger fields thus far this year, with a couple of top 10 finishes on the European Tour. That includes a podium finish earlier this year in Oman.

Anthony Wall- To Win 80/1, To Place 17/1
Anthony Wall is a proven European Tour winner who should fare well in this field, and in these conditions. He has only played here once before, finishing sixth in 2012, which bodes well. But he will love the conditions and should especially thrive in those holes that hug the coastline. The links specialist played well this time last year, with good finishes in both the Irish Open and Scottish Open before finishing fifth in his defence of the Paul Lawrie Match-Play. He had a decent top 25 in Dubai earlier this year but has struggled to replicate that form. But a seriously diminished field should give him the chance to reassert his links acumen.

The Man to Beat- Alvaro Quiros- To Win 28/1, To Place 6/1
Last year’s champion is one of those players who has battled to fulfil his potential. He reached a career high ranking of 21 in 2011, but as with so many of the emerging players on the tour he has struggled to remain consistently relevant. Last year’s champion clearly understands how to play links-golf, and more importantly he comes into this event on the back of a podium finish in Morocco. He finished runner-up on that occasion and should be emboldened on his return to a course that he plays so well.

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