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Costantino Rocca (born 4 December 1956) is an Italian golfer. He was long known as the most successful male golfer that Italy has produced, until the 2018 success of Francesco Molinari, who credited Rocca as an inspiration to him following his Open victory.[1] After a long career on the European Tour, Constantino is now playing on the European Seniors Tour. He has five European Tour wins and is best known for his second-place finish in the 1995 Open Championship, and his hole in one in 1995 Ryder Cup.

Costantino Rocca
Constantino Rocca.JPG
Personal information
Full nameCostantino Rocca
Born (1956-12-04) 4 December 1956 (age 62)
Bergamo, Italy
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Nationality Italy
ResidenceBergamo, Italy
SpouseAntonella (m. 1981)
ChildrenChiara, Francesco
Career
Turned professional1981
Current tour(s)European Seniors Tour
Former tour(s)European Tour
Professional wins17
Number of wins by tour
European Tour5
European Senior Tour2
Other10
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT5: 1997
U.S. OpenT67: 1996
The Open Championship2nd: 1995
PGA ChampionshipT17: 1995

Contents

Career outlineEdit

Rocca was born in Almenno San Bartolomeo, Bergamo. He started out as a caddie, winning the Italian Caddie Championship in 1978, and turned professional in 1981 at the age of 24.

In the 1980s, Rocca struggled to retain a European Tour card and made several trips to the Qualifying School. He began to make major strides in his career in 1990, which was the first season that he finished high enough on the Order of Merit to gain a tour card automatically. By 1993, he had risen to sixth in the Order of Merit, and his two best seasons were 1995 and 1996, when he finished fourth. He won five titles on the tour, the first of which was the 1993 Open de Lyon and the most prestigious of which was the 1996 Volvo PGA Championship.

In the final round of the 1995 Open Championship, Rocca sank a 60-foot (18-metre) putt on the 18th at St Andrews to make birdie and force a four-hole playoff with John Daly, but Daly won the playoff by four strokes. Rocca's second-highest finish in a major was a tie for fifth in the 1997 Masters Tournament; he was in the final pairing on Sunday, having begun the final round in second place, nine shots behind 21-year-old Tiger Woods, and he finished fifteen behind Woods.

Rocca was the first Italian to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup, and remained the only Italian to do so until 2010, when Francesco Molinari qualified for the Ryder Cup held in Celtic Manor and Edoardo Molinari was a captain's pick. He appeared in 1993, 1995 and 1997, and had a 6-5-0 win-loss-half record, including 1 win and 2 losses in singles matches. That one singles win came in a crucial match against Tiger Woods in the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama, which Rocca won 4 & 2 to help Europe claim the cup. The victory against Woods was one of Woods' first losses in singles play. His 53% winning record in the Cup is one of the best in European team history. During the 1995 Ryder Cup, Rocca made a hole-in-one on Oak Hill's sixth hole, only the third ace in Ryder Cup history. In 1999, Rocca almost qualified for the Ryder Cup again after he won the West of Ireland Golf Classic.

The 2001 European Tour season was the last in which Rocca finished inside the top hundred on the Order of Merit, though the remained exempt through 2006 due to his 1996 Volvo PGA Championship win. He made his European Seniors Tour debut at the 2007 Sharp Italian Seniors Open,[2] and won his first senior tournament two weeks later at the Irish Seniors Open. He ended 2008 with a record seven top finishes and ranked ninth in the Order of Merit. His best placing was tied third in the Azores Senior Open.[3]

Rocca played his last European Tour event in 2015 at the Italian Open, an event he played in 33 times but never won.

Personal lifeEdit

Rocca is married and has two children, Francesco and Chiara.[4]

In 2008, Rocca opened his own golf academy, the Costantino Rocca Golf Academy, at Golf Club Gerre Losone in Switzerland.

He is friends with golfing great Gary Player and plays in his Gary Player Invitational charity event to help raise money for underprivileged children around the world.

Professional wins (17)Edit

European Tour wins (5)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 4 Apr 1993 Open de Lyon −21 (67-71-66-63=267) 6 strokes   Joakim Haeggman,   Gabriel Hjertstedt,
  Barry Lane,   Paul McGinley
2 27 Jun 1993 Peugeot Open de France −11 (66-66-71-70=273) Playoff   Paul McGinley
3 27 May 1996 Volvo PGA Championship −14 (69-67-69-69=274) 2 strokes   Nick Faldo,   Paul Lawrie
4 7 Sep 1997 Canon European Masters −13 (71-69-70-65=275) 1 stroke   Scott Henderson,   Robert Karlsson
5 15 Aug 1999 West of Ireland Golf Classic −12 (70-68-68-70=276) 2 strokes   Pádraig Harrington

European Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1993 Peugeot Open de France   Paul McGinley Won with bogey on first extra hole
2 1995 The Open Championship   John Daly Lost four-hole aggregate playoff
Daly 4-3-4-4=15, Rocca 5-4-7-3=19

Other wins (7)Edit

  • 1984 Nazionale Open
  • 1985 Enichem Open
  • 1986 Pinetina Open
  • 1987 Index Open
  • 1988 Rolex Pro-Am (Switzerland)
  • 1989 Nazionale Open, Italian PGA Championship

All in Italy except where noted.

European Seniors Tour wins (2)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 3 Jun 2007 AIB Irish Seniors Open −5 (69-71-71=211) 2 strokes   Juan Quirós,   Kevin Spurgeon
2 10 Nov 2007 The Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy - Seniors Tour Championship −10 (70-70-66=206) 1 stroke   Nick Job

Other senior wins (3)Edit

  • 2008 Senior Italian PGA Championship
  • 2010 Senior Italian PGA Championship
  • 2011 Senior Italian PGA Championship

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T41 CUT T5 CUT
U.S. Open CUT T67 CUT
The Open Championship T44 T55 CUT CUT 2 T64 CUT T9 T18
PGA Championship CUT T17 T52 T71 CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied

SummaryEdit

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 2
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
The Open Championship 0 1 0 1 2 3 9 6
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 3
Totals 0 1 0 2 3 5 21 12
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 4 (1996 U.S. Open – 1997 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (three times)

Team appearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Francesco Molinari pays tribute to his golfing idol Costantino Rocca as he says his Open victory is for the man known as the godfather of golf in Italy". Daily Mail. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Rocca debuts in the Sharp Italian Seniors Open". European Tour. 14 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Costantino Rocca – Results – 2008". European Tour.
  4. ^ Vonaesch, Franziska. "Costantino Rocca: "Golf Is Good Training for Life"". Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2009.

External linksEdit