The European Tour returns home as Centro Nacional de Golf host Open de Espana. By Jack Howes
Open de Espana Preview, TV Times
The European Tour is on home soil for the first time this season at Centro Nacional de Golf in Spain.
Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston is the defending champion, having won the event in two years ago.
It’s the first time it has been hosted at the Madrid-based course since 2007. Following it’s absence from the European tour last year, it takes over from the iconic Valderrama, which hosted the event in 2016.
The Royal Spanish Golf Federation have decided fans will be able to attend for free this week, and defending champion ‘Beef’ was supportive of the idea, as he said: “It’s great that it is a free event for the fans because it is going to generate an amazing atmosphere.”
The weather for the week looks indifferent with temperatures ranging from 11-16 degrees celsius and a maximum wind for the week at around 6mph.
There are likely to be some showers, which will benefit the players as it will soften the ground.
The winning score was 16 under-par when Charl Schwartzel won in 2007, and the winning score is likely to be similar this week.
The player who is most likely to dominate a strong following is world number four Jon Rahm. The home favourite, who finished fourth at The Masters despite a slow start, was a member of Centre Nacional de Golf during his teenage years, and will hope to make his advantage count.
On returning to his old course, he said: “I spent my last two years of High School at Centro Nacional de Golf. I’ve played the course many times and that was where I was formed as a golfer. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Venue: Centro Nacional de Golf
Date: Mar 12-15
Course stats: par 72, 6,478 metres
Defending Champion: Andrew Johnston
How to watch the Open de Espana:
Thursday 17 – Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 11am
Friday 18 – Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 11am
Saturday 19 – Sky Sports Golf from 1pm
Sunday 20 – Sky Sports Golf from 1pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Open de Espana?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass, if you just wish to watch one of the rounds, or for just £12.99 you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
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Jon Rahm – The world number four headlines on home soil this week looking to win his third European Tour title after a strong showing at Augusta
Rafael Cabrera-Bello – Coming off the back of a positive week at the Masters; where he briefly shared the lead during round two, will be looking to build on his steady start to the season on home soil.
Paul Dunne – The Irishman has had some impressive results in recent weeks. Dunne, the current British Masters champion, finished T8th at the Houston Open and will be looking to carry his momentum in the European tour.
Key hole: 16th – the 543 yard par-5 presents a risk-reward opportunity, with plenty of danger as there is water all along the left-hand side. The stunning backdrop of the Spanish capital behind also makes it a picturesque setting.
Key skill: Patience – Although the course contains four par-5s, they are the more difficult holes, and will catch plenty of players out who are trying to create eagle and birdie opportunities.