Carlos Pigem is relishing the opportunity to be surrounded by family as he prepares to tee it up in the Empordà Challenge at Empordà Golf this week.
The Spaniard, who hails from Catalonia, is staying with family whose house overlooks the fairways of Empordà Golf as the Road to Mallorca makes its second stop of the year in Spain after last month’s Challenge de España, won by Sweden’s Jens Dantorp.
Pigem will be hoping to use all his experience of navigating Links Course at Empordà Golf to his advantage, after teeing it up several times at the Girona venue.
“It’s beautiful to play at home,” he said. “We played here last year and it was marvellous. I have great memories from last year and also, on this course, I’ve had two hole-in-ones on the 11th hole. What can I say about the food in Spain? It’s some of the best in the world, so I’m really excited to play here this week.
“I think you have a little bit of advantage at home. I know this course from when we played some amateur events here in 2009, then we played Challenge Tour here, and one pro event on the Catalunya Tour, so I think we have a little advantage.
“We travel a lot and when we play at home, it’s like a week off. I’m sleeping here at my Auntie’s house, I’ll eat at home, which is pretty strange to do that, so it feels really good to be here.”
The Links Course will this year play as a par 70, one shot fewer than in previous years after the tournament administrators changed the 552-yard par five to a 529-yard par four, after it played as the easiest hole on the course in 2021.
“The course is really nice,” said Pigem. “The greens are a little softer this year but the wind is going to pick up so they might get a little firmer. The course is in a great condition, there’s a bit of rough so you’ll need to be straight, hit good second shots to the greens and then holing the putts is going to be key.”
Pigem is joined in Girona this week by last week’s winner Nicolai Kristensen, who won his maiden title at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge, as well as the in-form Jeremy Freiburghaus, who has finished inside the top ten in each of his last three starts.
The action gets under way at 7:30am local time on Thursday June 9, with Pigem playing alongside American Tyler Koivisto and England’s Liam Robinson at 8:40am.