The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Open de Espana at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona

The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Open de Espana at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona.

The event hasn’t attracted the strongest fields in recent years but a host of top names are taking part this time around.

They include home favourites Alvaro Quiros, Sergio Garcia, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal.

The likes of Matteo Manassero, Ross Fisher, Thomas Bjorn, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts and defending champion Raphael Jacquelin are also taking part.

Jacquelin came through a record-equalling nine-hole play-off to record a fourth European Tour title at Parador de El Saler last year.

PGA Catalunya’s Stadium Course – which staged its first Open de Espana in 2000, just a year after opening – is renowned as one of the finest courses in mainland Europe.

It’s a tight, tricky and undulating water-strewn layout that now stretches to 7,333 yards after the introduction of seven new championship tees.

The Open de Espana has been part of the European Tour every year since the circuit’s inception in 1972.

“I am thrilled to once again play in the Open de Espana, especially with it being at PGA Catalunya resort,” said Garcia

“The venue’s facilities are spectacular and I’m sure it will be a great week for golf in Spain.”

Venue: PGA Cataluyna Resort, Stadium Course, Girona, Spain
Date: May 15-18
Course stats: 7,333 yards, par 72
Purse: €1,500,000; Winning share: €250,000
Defending champion: Raphael Jacquelin (-5)

Open de Espana television coverage:

Thursday 15 – 10.30am, Sky Sports 4
Friday 16 – 10.30am, Sky Sports 4
Saturday 17 – 12.30pm, Sky Sports 4
Sunday 18 – 12.00pm, Sky Sports 4

Player watch:

Sergio Garcia – The Spaniard has won twice in the last five months and returns home after a strong showing at The Players Championship

Thomas Bjorn – Played some fine golf at The Masters – his last European Tour event – and is a past winner of this event.

Julien Quesne – Has played well all season and will be inspired by recent French successes.

Key hole: 15. A par 5 at less than 500 yards, this hole could give players momentum ahead of a long, tough closing stretch.

Skills required: Accuracy. With firm fairways, elevated trees and a number of hazards, finding the short grass is absolutely essential this week.