• Guaranteed a better reception than he received at the Players
• Grouped with other past champs Molinari and Aiken
SERGIO GARCIA | SPANISH OPEN
Sergio Garcia will be hoping to get over the disappointment of his play-off defeat to Rickie Fowler at the Players Championship last week with a win on home soil at the Spanish Open.
The 35-year-old has previously referred to the Real Club de Golf El Prat course near Barcelona as ‘without doubt, one of my favourite golf courses, not only in Spain, but anywhere in the world’ and the Spaniard will no doubt receive a lot of warmth and appreciation from his fans, the same of which couldn’t be said at TPC Sawgrass, where he was heckled frequently during his final round.
Garcia won the tournament back in 2002 at the El Cortijo Club de Campo in Gran Canaria, while South Africa’s Thomas Aiken won the last time it was held at El Prat in 2011.
Miguel Angel Jimenez will be looking to become the first player to win back-to-back titles for more than 60 years, while three-time European Tour winner Pablo Larrazabal is searching for his first title at a course he, like Garcia, absolutely loves.
“The finishing holes, especially 16 and 17, are excellent holes, but to be honest the whole course is in great condition,” Larrazabal told the European Tour.
“It’s one of those golf courses where there’s no such thing as a bad hole. You have 18 great holes, but it’s one course where you have to play good golf to be under par.
“It’s a wide open course from the tee though, so you can miss shots from the tee and still be okay.”
Six Scots will be part of the field for the event, including Trophee Hassan II winner Richie Ramsay, 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, Scott Jamieson, Craig Lee, Chris Doak and David Drysdale.
Selected groups (local times)
8.10am – Thomas Bjorn, Pablo Larrazabal, Andy Sullivan
Bjorn has slipped down the world rankings since the turn of the year but is a past Spanish Open champion way back in 1998. The Dane has been grouped with Larrazabal, who finished runner-up to Francesco Molinari in 2012 and two-time winner on the European Tour this season Sullivan.
8.20am – Victor Dubuisson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Tommy Fleetwood
Dubuisson was the highest profile absentee from the Players Championship, with the world No.24 opting not to play at TPC Sawgrass for the second year in succession despite being eligible. The Frenchman will be joined for his opening rounds with defending champion Jimenez and Fleetwood, who finished third a the Shenzhen International last month.
1.20pm – Franceco Molinari, Thomas Aiken, Sergio Garcia
The last of our selected groups brings together three past champions. Molinari was a three-shot winner back in 2012, Aiken was a two-shot winner the last time the tournament was held at El Prat in 2011, while Garcia notched his fourth European Tour title at the age of just 22 back in 2002.
Sergio Garcia at the Spanish Open :: Your thoughts
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