Home favourites turning up the heat
The Spanish crowds can expect to see many familiar faces at Centro Nacional de Golf with Spaniards Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello just two of 25 countrymen teeing it up in the capital.
Favourites Rahm and Cabrera Bello are joined by fellow Spaniards Pablo Larrazábal, Alvaro Quiros, Adrian Otaequi plus many others looking to please their friends and families.
Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston will defend the title he won in 2016 – his first European Tour victory – and is joined in Madrid by fellow Englishmen and recent European Tour winners Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace, who won at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and the Hero Indian Open, respectively.
Johnston held off the challenge of Joost Luiten to claim the title at the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation in 2016. The victory propelled the Englishman on his way to five top ten finishes during the season – his best campaign to date.
Open de España comes home
The Open de España returns to the European Tour International Schedule for the first time since Johnston’s victory in 2016. The tournament was last played at the Centro Nacional de Golf – the home of Spanish golf – ten years ago, when Charl Schwartzel shot 16 under par to claim his second European Tour win.
Royal Spanish Golf Federation are based at the course and have hosted some of the world’s top golfers over the years. It was also home to current World Number Four Jon Rahm while he combined his golf and studies at Centro Nacional for two years.
Englishmen look to tie history books
30 years ago Mark James won the Open de España to become the third successive Englishman to win the prestigious tournament. In 2018, there is the chance for one of the Englishman in the field to repeat that achievement and put their name in the history books.
Following Johnston’s and James Morrison’s victories in 2016 and 2015, the chance for a successive English winner of the Open de España has come around once again.
Former Ryder Cup stars teeing it up
An array of former Ryder Cup stars will be involved in the action in Madrid this week.
Spaniard Cabrera Bello, who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2016, will be joined by 2016 teammate Andy Sullivan. The pair will be teeing it up alongside winning 2014 Ryder Cup trio Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher, as well as Miracle in Medinah duo Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie.
Fellow former Ryder Cup players include David Howell, Edoardo Molinari, Robert Karlsson, and from 2002’s winning Ryder Cup side Niclas Fasth.
91 years old
The Open de España will be played for the 91st time after making its first appearance as a tournament in 1912.
The event has been part of the European Tour since its inception in 1972 when it was first won by home favourite Antonio Garrido.