- Italian Open
The Italian Open is a European Tour event with its origins dating back to 1925 at Alpino di Stresa, near Lake Maggiore, when local player Francesco Pasquali won the 36-hole stroke play championship by a single stroke from William H. Jolly.
The second Open at the same venue was won by 18-year-old Frenchman August Boyer, who remains the youngest winner of the tournament to this day. He would go on to set a record of four victories (in 1926, 1929, 1930, 1931), a feat which was later emulated by Belgian Flory Van Donck either side of World War II.
Boyer also secured multiple national Opens in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland during his professional career but he could never win the French Open, finishing as runner-up on three occasions, in 1930, 1933 and 1934.
Percy Alliss won the 1927 Italian Open at Alpino di Stresa in a playoff against Marcel Dallemagne (who later claimed the 1937 title) then he captured his second Open at Sanremo eight years later. Peter Alliss then followed in his father’s footsteps to win the 1958 Open by ten shots at Varese, making the Alliss Sr. and Jr. combination the only father and son team to have won the trophy.
All thirteen editions of the competition before World War II were held at Alpino di Stresa, Golf Sanremo, Villa d’Este or Sestrieres. Senator Agnelli, the founder of Fiat, had built the course at Sestrieres, near Turin, hiring Henry Cotton to advertise the club and attract wealthy English clients, but the outbreak of war in Europe unfortunately put paid to those lucrative plans.
In the pre-European Tour period after the Second World War, by which time the Italian Open was now a 72-hole event, home players enjoyed quite a bit of success in the fifteen tournaments staged (there was no competition held between 1961 and 1970).
Aldo Casera (1948) was followed into the winners’ enclosure by Ugo Grappasonni in 1950 and 1954, and Italian players finished second on nine occasions, including Alfonso Angelini, who was runner-up in 1950, 1958 and 1959.
Nonetheless, the championship was becoming more international, as evidenced by wins for Egyptian Hassan Hassanein in 1949, Argentinan Antonio Cerdá in 1956, Australian Peter Thomson in 1959, along with Harold Henning and Brian Wilkes from South Africa in 1957 and 1960.
Norman Wood of Scotland lifted a newly introduced trophy when he won the 29th edition of the Italian Open in 1972, at the dawn of a new era for the competition. Over the next thirty years or so, some of the biggest names in golf – all of them Major winners – were crowned as the Italian champion golfer: Tony Jacklin in 1973, Billy Casper in 1975, Bernhard Langer (1983 & 1997), Sandy Lyle (1984 & 1992) and Greg Norman (1988).
Italian conquests were a little thin on the ground – with only Baldovino Dassù at Is Molas in 1976 and Massimo Mannelli at Acquasanta in 1980 winning on home soil – until Francisco Molinari’s 4-shot victory at Castello Tolcinasco in 2006. The home favourite then repeated his achievement at the Milan Open in 2016, two years before joining the exclusive Major winner’s club at The Open in Carnoustie.
Since 2003, when the Italian Golf Federation took over the reins of the event with its own organising committee and a forward-looking agreement with the European Tour, the Italian Open has gone from strength to strength and there have been long-term residencies for the contest at Castello Tolcinasco (2004-2008), Royal Park I Roveri (2009-2012) and Milan (2015-2017).
Villa d’Este has hosted the Italian Open twelve times and it’s been held at Milan nine times. The event has also taken place at Monticello on seven occasions, followed by Sanremo and Castello Tolcinasco, each with five stagings.
You’ll not find any of the following courses listed below as they’re currently not included in our Italian listings: Albarella (1986), Alpino di Stresa (1925-1927), Chervò (2020), Golf Sanremo (1934-1948), Le Rovedine (1995), Molinetto (1985) and Sestrieres (1936).
Italian Open Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy