Lowdown:

It used to be one of the biggest events on the European Tour and although this year’s event does not have all of the big names it would have hoped for it still has a fascinating line up of players.

There are still some big names who will be looking to impress in the matchplay tournament with a Ryder Cup around the corner. Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia and Peter Hanson will all be hoping to catch Europeam Captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s eye.

Other big names to take note off are Thomas Bjorn, Alvaro Quiros and 2011 Open Champions Darren Clarke. While Branden Grace goes for his third Volvo sponsored title of the year. Young Englishman Tom Lewis will also be hoping to make a big impression by eliminating some of the bigger names.

The course at Finca Cortesin was designed by Cabell Robinson in 2007 and is a challenging layout. This will be the third year the matchplay has been played here with Englishmen Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher winning the previous tournaments. A long course the rough is not too challenging if found, however the open settoing means that the wind can cause issues when playing to the fast and undulating greens.

Venue: Finca Cortesin Golf Club, Costa del Sol, Spain
Date: May 17-20
Course stats: par 72, 7,290 yads
Purse: €2,750,000  Winner: €700,000
Defending Champion: Ian Poulter

TV Coverage:

Thursday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1pm
Friday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Saturday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Sunday 20 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 9am

Player Watch:

Ian Poulter: The defending champion always seems to raise his game in matchplay tournaments. His determination and will power was most evident in last year’s tournament when out of the 6 matches he played only in the final against Luke Donald did he not play the 18th (finished on the 17th).

Martin Kaymer: The only player from the top 10 of the golf world rankings attending this year. A very decent matchplayer in his own right, lost out to Luke Donald in the WGC – Accenture Match play Championship in 2011.

Brandt Snedeker: The only American in the field will certainly have something to prove. With the Ryder Cup happening in September this could be the stage for him to show his talent.

Key hole:

18th: A huge amount of matches went up the final hole last year and it is a cracking matchplay finale. A par-5 of 568 yards the pros all expect to birdie it, but with a long thin green surrounded by deep bunkers your strategy and execution has to be spot on here.

Skills required:

Putting the ball in the correct place from the tee is a must round Finca Cortesin. It is a long course and if you are playing shots from bunkers and rough then it will take its toll on your scoring. If you miss the greens in bad places then the sometimes very difficult pin positions can be a tricky task to get to.