The 2010 Fred Olsen Challenge de España, won last year by The European Tour’s newest champion Rhys Davies of Wales, will return to Tecina Golf on La Gomera, the Canary Islands, from June 24-27.
For the second successive year the €150,000 event – one of the longest-running tournaments on the Challenge Tour Schedule – will be played at Tecina Golf’s 6,937 yard (6,343 metres), par 71 course, which offers some spectacular views across the Atlantic Ocean to Mount Teide, the world’s third largest volcano.
The majority of the holes play downhill towards the sea, with the difference between the highest and lowest points on the course measuring 175 metres.
Six weeks after capturing his maiden Challenge Tour title at the 2009 SWALEC Wales Challenge, last September Davies triumphed at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España to become only the second Welshman after Jamie Donaldson in 2001 to record multiple victories on the Challenge Tour.
A closing round of 67 saw Davies finish on 17 under par, one shot ahead of Sweden’s Steven Jeppesen, who had shared the lead with the Welshman going into the last day but could only manage a final round of 68.
His runner-up finish was the fifth of Jeppesen’s career, but victory for Davies propelled him into the top five of the Challenge Tour Rankings, and he would eventually finish in fourth place to earn promotion to The European Tour for the first time.
The 24 year old made the most of his place in The 2010 Race to Dubai by capturing his maiden European Tour title at last week’s Trophée Hassan II, closing with a round of 66 to see off Louis Oosthuizen by two shots.
Jaime Savalleri, President of the Professional Committee at the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, said: “We are very happy to return to Tecina Golf to play the Fred Olsen Challenge de España. To have an event on the Challenge Tour is key for us, as it not only gives an opportunity to our young professionals to play in a strong international tournament, but also to gain additional experience in other events across Europe.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “We’re delighted to return to the Canary Islands, and would like to thank the Royal Spanish Golf Federation for their continuous support over the years in maintaining a strong event on Challenge Tour. I would like also to thank all sponsors and partners of the Fred Olsen Challenge de España, who must be delighted with Rhys Davies’ victory at the Trophée Hassan II on The European Tour last week, just seven months after his win at Tecina Golf in La Gomera. They can all be very proud of their event.”
Other former winners of the Challenge de España include Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima, both of whom – like Davies – subsequently became European Tour champions. But it is Swedes who have largely dominated the event, with Eric Carlberg, Martin Erlandsson and Fredrik Widmark winning in 2000, 2003 and 2002 respectively. The inaugural event in 1999 produced the first and only home winner, when Spaniard Carl Suneson took the title.
The tournament will again be sponsored by Fred Olsen S.A., with additional support from the Royal Spanish Golf Federation and the Canarian Government.