The European Tour is in Spain this week for the Reale Seguros Open de España at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla. Thomas Aiken is defending champion.
The Spanish Open is one of the oldest on the professional circuit – the first was hosted in 1912 when the competition was won by Arnaud Massy. That means this year marks the 100th anniversary of the tournament’s first running. Since that time there have been some notable champions including Peter Thomson, Roberto DeVicenzo and Seve Ballesteros. Seve won the last of his 50 European Tour titles in the 1995 Open de España and Monday marks the first anniversary of the great man’s death.
With that in mind, and the 100 years of the Spanish Open, the home players are eager to perform well this week.
“The Spanish Open is very special to all of us Spanish players and I would love to have a victory in the tournament in my career,” said Miguel Angel Jimenez. “It’s a big week because of everything that is going on and, of course, we will all have our thoughts about Seve and how we miss him.”
The tournament returns to Real Club de Golf de Sevilla after being contested at Real Club de Golf El Prat near Barcelona in 2011. In that tournament Thomas Aiken of South Africa picked up his maiden European Tour victory.
Designed by Jose Maria Olazabal, the course at Sevilla is a proven track for successful competitive events. The course played host to the 2010 Open de España and the 2009 Open de Andalucia. The World Cup was contested over the layout in 2004 and, in 2009 the course was also the venue for the Spanish International Amateur Championship.
Venue: Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, Seville, Spain
Date: May 3-6
Course stats: par 72, 7,140 yards
Purse: €2,000,000 Winner: €333,000
Defending Champion: Thomas Aiken (-10)
Thursday 3 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 10am
Friday 4 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Saturday 5 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12.30pm
Sunday 6 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12.30pm
Alvaro Quiros – He won this event last time it was contested over the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, back in 2010. He may not be on the greatest of form so far this year, but a return to home soil and a course he clearly enjoys might just spark his season into life.
Paul Lawrie – He’s won European Tour events twice before in Spain and is enjoying his best season for a number of years. He played four solid rounds on his last outing in China and is currently seventh in the Race to Dubai. He’s yet to miss a cut in 2012.
George Coetzee – The young South African continues to knock on the door and is now overdue a European Tour victory. He’s had four top-10 finishes already this year, including his last two starts.
Key hole: 16th. A 523-yard par-5 that should be reachable in two for most of the field. But, with water guarding the front of the green, it’s an intimidating and challenging second shot. The hole will surely yield eagles but expect to see a few disasters here as well.
Skills required: Course management. With a number of well-placed bunkers and water hazards over an eclectic mix of holes, every shot will be tested and the players will use every club in the bag. It’s not a course that will produce super-low scoring.
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