The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Open de Espana at Parador De El Saler in Valencia, and a number of European golfers have made the long trip from Augusta National to compete.
Defending champion Francesco Molinari is one of those players, along with Matteo Manassero, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Sergio Garcia, who finished in a tie for eighth at the Masters.
The Open de Espana has traditionally been one of the most popular events on the European Tour, and its distinguished list of winners is testament to that.
It began life in 1972 and was staged five times at La Manga Club’s South Course during the 1970s, with Arnold Palmer and Bernard Gallacher both winning at the iconic resort.
Since then, some of the European Tour’s biggest names, including the late Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Garcia and Charl Schwartzel, have trumped at the Open de Espana.
This week, Parador De El Saler is hosting the Open de Espana for the third time. Langer won the tournament the last time it was staged here in 2001.
The course is located in El Saler natural park next to the Mediteranean Sea. It’s both tree lined and exposed, with the seven seaside holes surrounded by sand dunes providing a links feel.
There has been substantial rain over the last month, but it’s supposed to be dry and breezy this week.
Venue: Parador De El Saler, Valencia, Spain
Date: April 18-21
Course stats: par 72, 6,945 yards
Defending Champion: Francesco Molinari (-8)
Thursday 18 – Sky Sports 2 from 11am
Friday 19 – Sky Sports 2 from 11am
Saturday 20 – Sky Sports 1 from 12.30am
Sunday 21 – Sky Sports 3 from 12.30am
Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard often plays his best golf on home soil and he’ll be supremely confident after a strong showing at the Masters.
Pablo Larrazabal: The gregarious Spaniard has finished inside the top six in his last two tournaments and he tied for second at last year’s Open de Espana.
Anders Hansen: The Dane finished third in his last outing at the Maybank Malaysian Open. He was 16th in the Open de Espana last year and second in 2011.