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Tuesday, 27 April 1999
The Challenge Tour is, this week, making its second visit to Spain in the space of a month with the playing of the Comunidad Valenciana Challenge de España . This will be the fourth tournament on this year's schedule and the venue is the superb Campo de Golf El Saler course in Valencia.

The main Tour previously visited El Saler for the 1989 Peugeot Open de España when Bernhard Langer triumphed on seven-under-par 281. He finished three strokes ahead of José Maria Cañizares, now playing successfully on the Senior Tour, and Yorkshire's Paul Carrigill, who joined the European Tour's field staff in late 1998 as a Tournament Administrator.

El Saler has also featured as a Pre-Qualifying venue for the European Tour Qualifying School up until 1992. On that occasion the top qualifier was current Challenge Tour player Scott Watson who will be hoping to make a winning return to the Spanish course.

However, it is a destination the European Tour has not visited since 1996 when the Turespaña Masters was played there and the title went to Diego Borrego, who graduated from the Challenge Tour in the previous year.

On that occasion the Spaniard thrilled the home fans by beating Zimbabwe's Tony Johnstone at the third play-off hole after they had finished tied on 17-under-par 271.
Borrego, who lost his Tour card last year but regained it at the Qualifying School in November, is back at El Saler this week and with his knowledge of the course must be considered one of the favourites.

Yet the quality of the field - easily the strongest seen on the Challenge Tour this year - means that only top form will be good enough to land the title and the top prize of 14,643 euro from a total prize fund of 90,151 euro.

All three of this season's Challenge Tour winners - Maarten Lafeber of Holland, Welshman David Park, and Ian Poulter from England - are in the field and they fill the leading positions in the rankings with Park at No.1.

But the chase for this new title is sure to be keen especially among the Spanish with Borrego being joined by Jesus Maria Arruti, Juan Quiros, Francis Valera, José Manuel Lara, José Manuel Carriles, Ivo Giner, and many more.

Also competing are a number of main Tour Category 12 players including Yorkshireman Iain Pyman, Carl Suneson of Spain, New Zealand's Steve Alker, and Andrew Clapp of England. This group also includes several players who have qualified from the Challenge Tour such as Carl Watts, Anssi Kankkonen, Heinz-Peter Thül, Andrew Sandywell, Raymond Burns, and Chris Van der Velde.

So it promises to be a week of quality golf from a quality field.

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