Open de Espana preview

The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Open de Espana at Parador De El Saler in Valencia and a number of players have made the long trip from Augusta National to compete

Francesco Molinari


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 Purse: €1,500,000 Defending Champion: Francesco Molinari (-8) TV Coverage:

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 Player Watch:

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.

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