A good field has gathered at the world-renowned Real Club Valderrama for the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, with the draw for the opening two days throwing up some interesting pairings...
Sergio Garcia, who became the first Spaniard to win a stroke play event at the Sotogrande venue when he triumphed in the last edition of this event in 2011, will tee it up alongside Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, who also won at this venue in last year’s Open de España, and Shane Lowry, for the first two rounds.
That threeball will receive a lot of support when they get their challenges underway at 09:15 local time from the 10th tee, especially with the home crowd eager to see Garcia play on home soil for the first time since his famous victory at the Masters earlier this year.
Another home star, Jon Rahm, will make his bow in this tournament in the afternoon marquee group, when the Irish Open winner tees it up alongside Major Champions Martin Kaymer and Padraig Harrington at 13:45 from the first tee.
Rahm, who will be making his first professional appearance on Spanish soil, is the highest ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings on show this week in south Spain at the lofty position of fifth, while Kaymer and Harrington have 26 European Tour wins between them – so expect some quality from that group.
Elsewhere, Open de Portugal winner Matt Wallace, who made a big impression at last week’s Italian Open where he led into the final day before finishing fourth, will have another home player in Álvaro Quirós, who grew up in nearby San Roque, and Mikko Ilonen for company on Thursday and Friday.
Another strong group sees Danny Willett, Søren Kjeldsen and Joost Luiten tee it up from the 10th tee at 09:05, while José María Olazábal will return to the scene of the 1997 Ryder Cup when he plays alongside James Morrison and Grégory Bourdy for the first two rounds, 20 years on from helping Team Europe to a famous 14½ - 13½ victory over the USA at Valderrama.
To see who the likes of Andy Sullivan are playing alongside click here for the full draw for rounds one and two of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.