Open de Espana preview

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

Raphael Jacquelin
Raphael Jacquelin won the Open de Espana after a nine-hole play-off lasy year
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x