For the third successive season the Fred Olsen Challenge de España will be played on the Canary Islands when the 12th edition of the event takes place from September 29-October 2 at Tecina Golf, in La Gomera.
The 6,937 yards (6,343 metres), par 71 course has a habit of producing noteworthy winners, with Wales’ Rhys Davies triumphing in 2009 and Spaniard Alvaro Velasco capturing his maiden Challenge Tour title en route to topping the final Rankings last year.
Since his one-stroke victory two years ago Davies has cemented his reputation as a rising star with a series of outstanding performances on The European Tour, most notably his maiden victory at the Trophée Hassan II last March when he held off the challenge of South African Louis Oosthuizen, who would later win The Open Championship.
Last year, Velasco ended an 11-year wait for a victory when he surged through the field with a flawless round of 65 on the final day to finish two strokes clear of the field on 18 under par.
The 29 year old from Barcelona, who became only the second Spanish winner of the event after Carl Suneson won the inaugural event in 1999, later added the lucrative Kazakhstan Open to end the season with earnings of €134,297.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “We would like to thank the Royal Spanish Golf Federation for their continued support, and also our partners Fred Olsen and Tecina Golf, whose commitment has enabled us to develop a healthy and well-established event in Spain.
“The many improvements which have been made to the course over the past two years have been significant, and have helped to make the tournament one of the most popular on the schedule with our Members. For the past two years the winner of the Fred Olsen Challenge de España has gone on to finish in the top five of the Rankings, so we can expect a high level of competition again this year.”
Jaime Salaverri, President of the Professional Committee of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, said: “We are delighted to return to Tecina Golf to play the Fred Olsen Challenge de España for the third consecutive year. The Challenge de España has become a key tournament not only for us, but also for The European Tour as the winners in the past two years have all gone on to earn their cards for the main Tour.
“It was especially pleasing to see Alvaro win last year, and hopefully the home players will again shine in September. Staging a Challenge Tour event in Spain is a great opportunity for the Spanish Golf Federation to offer our professionals the chance to play an international tournament, and gain experience from it.”
Primos Pusnik, Director of Tecina Golf, said: “The fact that the Challenge Tour, the Royal Spanish Golf Federation and MatchGolf have decided to return to La Gomera is very important for us, because it means that our course at Tecina Golf reaches the high levels required by the Tour. Once again, and for the third straight year, we will try our best to present the course in the best possible condition.”
Javier Gervás, General Manager of tournament promoters MatchGolf, said: “In partnership with the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, it gives us great pleasure to return to Tecina Golf for the Challenge de España, an event which has grown in importance after the progress made by the past two winners: firstly Rhys Davies, who won in 2009 and enjoyed a superb debut season on The European Tour last year; and then Alvaro Velasco, who won the Challenge Tour Rankings after his victory at Tecina Golf in 2010.
“These two have set a great example for all the players who will tee up in the Fred Olsen Challenge de España at Tecina Golf in September. We would like to thank the Canaries Islands Tourist Board for their continued support, and also Fred Olsen for their title sponsorship of the tournament.”