Álvaro Quirós will be back in “paradise” in May when he returns to Sicily’s Verdura Golf Club to defend his title at the 2018 Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.

The win was the Spaniard’s seventh career victory on the European Tour – and his first in six years – and he is among the first players to confirm their attendance at this year’s event, which will take place from May 10-13.

Quirós overcame a tense play-off with South African Zander Lombard to lift the trophy in the Sicilian sunshine last year, and he is hoping for a repeat of that success when he returns for this year’s tournament.

He said: “I have some amazing memories from last year’s tournament and I’m really excited to defend my title at Verdura Golf Club. It is a course that suits my eye and it was an amazing feeling to win the play-off last year against Zander, we both played some incredible golf that week.

“I was so happy to win my seventh European Tour title in Sicily last year, it meant a lot to me, and I hope I can be right up there in contention again this year.”

For the second year running, the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open will be played on a composite course combining the finest holes from Verdura Resort’s two award-winning 18-hole championship courses, the East Course and West Course.

Measuring 7,217 yards, the par-71 lay-out comprises of nine holes each from the two Kyle Phillips-designed courses and features one of the most dramatic closing stretches in world tournament golf, with the final six holes running adjacent to the coast and set against the magnificent backdrop of the azure Mediterranean Sea.

In addition, golf fans attending the tournament can take advantage of an array of benefits including free entry and a range of exciting VIP experience packages – including the chance to play in the event pro-am.

As well as having the chance to test their skills on Verdura Resort’s world-class golf courses, the players and their families will also have the chance to experience the venue’s outstanding array of other first-class facilities this spring.