Marco Durante became the first Italian winner of a European Challenge Tour event when he clinched the 1989 Triconfort Open.
Durante was the first of a long line of Italians to shine on the Challenge Tour, when he won his first professional title 31 years ago.
His maiden step into the winner’s circle came two years into his professional career and it was a time when he felt ready to clinch victory for the first time.
“I felt inspired the night before the final round,” he said. “I was behind, but I knew I was ready for my first win; I asked my brother Roberto, who was caddying for me, to pull out the number one balls from my bag and it was it turned out to be the right decision. I shot 65 on a very windy Sunday.”
At the time, Italian golf was making only its fledgling steps into the professional game and Durante’s victory was celebrated heavily by his family and friends, but the effects did not ripple out into the rest of the country.
“My friends and colleagues were impressed, but at that time Italian golf was very amateur-oriented and did not show much attention,” he said.
“This is one of the reasons why, years later, as a golf administrator I make so much effort to create awareness and help our professionals. My work is done; I am proud of the new generation and of Italy hosting The 2022 Ryder Cup.”
His win at the Triconfort Open saw him become the first Italian to prosper on the circuit, having had an impressive amateur career, where he became the first non-American player to win the Junior Orange Bowl in Miami in 1979.
The event has since been won by several iconic names from world golf, including Tiger Woods in 1991.
The Junior Orange Bowl victory was one of several victories from the amateur ranks, including the 1981 Aer Lingus Trophy, the 1987 Swiss International Championship, as well as seven triumphs in his own country.
Since his retirement from the professional game, Durante has dedicated his life to helping the next generation of golfers to achieve their dreams. He is now President of the Alps Tour, the satellite tour where the top five on the Order of Merit receive Challenge Tour cards for the following season.