Former Ryder Cup star Manuel Piñero believes that one of the strongest fields to have played the Benahavis Senior Masters will be greeted by a course at La Quinta Golf and Country Club which is in better shape than ever.
The Spaniard, who has nine European Tour titles to his name and a 100 per cent singles record from two Ryder Cup appearances, is the designer of the host venue for the Benahavis Senior Masters, which takes place from June 1-3.
Piñero has played the tournament every year since its inception in 2009 and has been proud to watch the course develop and improve every year, made even more pleasing by the players’ tributes in recent years.
“It will be really nice to have such a good field this year, both for the club and for the Senior Tour,” said Piñero, who is in attendance at this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
“The players really enjoy the course and it is getting better every year. I definitely think it is in even better shape than last year. We always get great support at this event too so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The 59 year old has not performed quite as well as he would have liked at the Benahavis Senior Masters, and will be hoping to better his best finish of tied 11th (in 2009) at the tournament this year.
“My game is the only thing that has been missing at the Benahavis Senior Masters in the last couple of years but I would like to change that this time around,” said Piñero, who tipped one of his compatriots – rookie and three-time European Tour winner Miguel Angel Martin – as one to watch next week.
He said: “I think Miguel is certainly one player who could do well this year. The course suits him because he is very straight off the tee and, of course, he’s new and he’s only 50 so that is a big advantage.
“It’s going to be a great tournament this year though, with 26 of the top 30 coming. I think the change of date has certainly helped, and there will be a lot of great players here next week.”
The field includes 26 of the top 30 players from last year’s Senior Tour Order of Merit, including two-time champion Carl Mason, former Ryder Cup Captain Mark James and last year’s Number One Peter Fowler.The fourth edition of the Benahavis Senior Masters has been moved to a new date on the Senior Tour Schedule, from October to June 1-3, and has also benefitted from an increased prize fund of €200,000.