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Quirós targeting more Sicilian glory

May 09, 2018

Álvaro Quirós returns to the scene of arguably his greatest triumph when he tees it up as defending champion at this week's Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.

The Spaniard was one of the European Tour's leading lights in the late 2000s, winning six events in five seasons from 2007, culminating in the season-ending Dubai World Championship presented by DP World in 2011.

Quirós targeting more Sicilian glory, © Getty Images

There then followed six years without victory for Quirós before he arrived at Verdura Golf Club last season 703rd on the Official World Golf Ranking and without his playing privileges on the European Tour.

“Well obviously it was a very important moment in my career without having the European Tour card in my pocket, recovering it after my victory here was a very great achievement."

“It is a lovely place, I mean it’s a paradise in the middle of Sicily, it’s a lovely place, we have lovely restaurants, the golf course is a very nice one too, this year especially it’s in great shape. The weather, as you can see, is sunny with a little bit of breeze - no complaints."

The 35 year old overcame a tense play-off with South African Zander Lombard to lift the trophy in the Sicilian sunshine, and he is hoping for a repeat of that success this week after a second-placed finish at the Trophée Hassan II last month represented a return to form.

Thorbjørn Olesen joins Quirós in the field having claimed his first European Tour win at Verdura Golf Club six years ago and he still believes he has the perfect game to triumph in Sicily.

“I remember it is always pretty windy here, it is so close to the ocean and that makes it tricky, especially to hit these fairways you know coming in on different angles and when it blows it is really difficult. I saw today they have changed the course slightly, there are some new holes, so it is a little bit different."

The Dane has since added to that tally of wins and a victory this week would take his total to five as he looks to impress countryman and Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn ahead of the biennial spectacular at Le Golf National.

The layout at Verdura is similar to the one Olesen grew up playing in Denmark and with windy conditions almost guaranteed, he is looking forward to a challenge with which he feels comfortable.

England’s Eddie Pepperell claimed his maiden victory earlier this season at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in February but has played just two stroke play events since. The 27 year old admits that was not an ideal situation but after enjoying his experience at last week's GolfSixes, he believes his game is trending in the right direction ahead of the busy summer schedule.

“From a golf perspective last week I was just keen on picking up on some shot patterns because I haven’t been playing great recently, so while I was there to have fun, I was also keeping a close eye on my swing and my shot patterns.

“This week is going to be more of the same leading up to Wentworth, the forecast is windy and it’s going to be a challenging week in that respect because you are going to have to control the ball really well. It is going to tell me a hell of a lot to be honest of where my swing is at and that’s something I am looking forward to, grabbing the feedback for next week at home so I can take that into Wentworth and Italy."

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