European Tour

Poulter set for Italian Open

Ian Poulter (AP)
Ian Poulter (AP)

Cape Town - Ian Poulter has confirmed he will tee it up at the Italian Open, the second Rolex Series event on the European Tour's 2018 Race to Dubai, at Gardagolf Country Club from May 31-June 3.

The Ryder Cup legend will join defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, alongside home favourite and two-time Italian Open champion Francesco Molinari in the picturesque surroundings of Lake Garda for the 75th edition of the historic tournament.

Poulter, a two-time winner himself of the Italian Open in 2000 and 2002, has enjoyed a strong start to the 2018 season, with two top ten finishes on the European Tour, as well as a return to the winners' circle on the PGA Tour with victory in the Houston Open last month.

The 42-year-old will attempt to add a third Italian Open title to his name, and in doing so also make a return to the Ryder Cup arena having been part of four European victories in five appearances against the United States, including the Miracle of Medinah comeback in 2012.

"The Italian Open will always be a special tournament for me," said the 12-time European Tour winner. "It was my first win as a professional and the memories I have from that event will be stay with me forever."

"The Italian crowds are always fantastic and the course this year is in a spectacular spot right next to Lake Garda, so I'm looking forward to coming back to Italy.

"Having extra Ryder Cup points on offer two weeks in a row at the PGA Championship and Italian Open certainly gives us players an extra incentive to do well. My game is feeling pretty good at the moment and I hope I can play well in front of the Italian fans."

As a Rolex Series event, the Italian Open marks the next stage in the qualification campaign for Paris, with Ryder Cup points earned multiplied by 1.5 on both the World Points List and the European Point List until Made in Denmark, and no Ryder Cup qualification points available from tournaments staged anywhere in the world played in the same week.

Nestled between the famous Rocca di Manerba, Soiano Castle and the Valtenesi hills of Northern Italy, Gardagolf Country Club has produced some memorable golfing moments.

It last hosted the Italian Open in 2003 where Sweden's Mathias Grönberg claimed a two-stroke victory.

The Italian Open continues to flourish 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 $7 million.

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England 219
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