European Golf Tour
PGA European - Open de Espana Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st
SITE: Parador de El Saler, Valencia, Spain
COURSE ARCHITECT: Javier Arana (1968)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,052
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 439 Yds10 - Par 4 399 Yds
2 - Par 4 389 Yds11 - Par 5 568 Yds
3 - Par 5 542 Yds12 - Par 3 198 Yds
4 - Par 3 200 Yds13 - Par 4 353 Yds
5 - Par 5 526 Yds14 - Par 4 422 Yds
6 - Par 4 448 Yds15 - Par 5 572 Yds
7 - Par 4 358 Yds16 - Par 4 427 Yds
8 - Par 4 376 Yds17 - Par 3 213 Yds
9 - Par 3 156 Yds18 - Par 4 466 Yds
36 3,434 Yds36 3,618 Yds
Annual:  87th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Francesco Molinari
Runner-Up:  Soren Kjeldsen, Alejandro Canizares, Pablo Larrazabal
Tournament Record:  262 (Mark James, 1988)
54-Hole Record:  194 (Mark James, 1988)
36-Hole Record:  127 (Richard Boxall, 1988)
18-Hole Record:  61 (Wayne Riley, 1988 - Pedrena Golf Club)
Course Record:  62 (Bernhard Langer, 1984)
Total Purse:  $1,978,574 (1,500,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $325,900; 2nd Place - $217,258; 3rd Place - $122,408
2012 Finish
Francesco Molinari280Thorbjorn Olesen285
Soren Kjeldsen283Five players at286
Alejandro Canizares283
Pablo Larrazabal283
Jorge Campillo285
Past Open de Espana Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Francesco Molinari (280) -- Soren Kjeldsen, Alejandro Canizares,
Pablo Larrazabal
2011Thomas Aiken (278) -- Anders Hansen
2010*Alvaro Quiros (277) -- James Morrison
2009Thomas Levet (270) -- Fabrizio Zanotti
2008*Peter Lawrie (273) -- Ignacio Garrido
2007Charl Schwartzel (272) -- Jyoti Randhawa
2006*Niclas Fasth (270) -- John Bickerton
2005*Peter Hanson (280) -- Peter Gustafsson
2004Christian Cevaer (271) -- David Park, Ricardo Gonzalez, Peter Hedblom
2003*Kenneth Ferrie (266) -- Peter Lawrie, Peter Hedblom
2002Sergio Garcia (275) - Emanuele Canonica
2001Robert Karlsson (277) -- Jean-Francois Remesy
2000Brian Davis (274) -- Markus Brier
1999Jarmo Sandelin (267) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul McGinley,
Ignacio Garrido
1998Thomas Bjorn (267) -- Greg Chalmers, Jose Maria Olazabal
1997*Mark James (277) -- Greg Norman
1996Padraig Harrington (272) -- Gordon Brand Jr
1995Seve Ballesteros (274) -- Jose Rivero, Ignacio Garrido
1994Colin Montgomerie (277) -- Richard Boxall, Mark Roe, Mark McNulty
1993Joakim Haeggman (275) -- Nick Faldo, Ernie Els
1992Andrew Sherborne (271) -- Nick Faldo
1991*Eduardo Romero (275) -- Seve Ballesteros
1990Rodger Davis (277) -- Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Peter Fowler
1989Bernhard Langer (281) -- Paul Carrigill, Jose Maria Canizares
1988Mark James (262) -- Nick Faldo
1987Nick Faldo (286) -- Hugh Baiocchi, Seve Ballesteros
1986Howard Clark (272) -- Ian Baker-Finch
1985Seve Ballesteros (266) -- Gordon Brand Jr
1984Bernhard Langer (275) -- Howard Clark
1983Eamonn Darcy (277) -- Manuel Pinero
1982Sam Torrance (273) -- Roger Chapman, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam
1981Seve Ballesteros (273) -- Steve Martin
1980Eddie Polland (276) -- Seve Ballesteros, Mark James
1979Dale Hayes (278) -- Brian Barnes
1978Brian Barnes (276) -- Howard Clark
1977Bernard Gallacher (277) -- Francisco Abreu
1976Eddie Polland (282) -- Bob Shearer
1975Arnold Palmer (283) -- John Fourie
1974Jerry Heard (279) -- Gary Player
1973Neil Coles (282) -- Tienie Britz, Craig Defoy
1972*Antonio Garrido (293) -- Valentin Barrios
1971Dale Hayes (275) -- Roberto de Vicenzo
1970Angel Gallardo (284)
1969Jean Garaialde (283)
1968R.Shaw (286)
1967Sebastian Miguel (265)
1966Roberto de Vicenzo (279)
1965Not Held
1964Angel Miguel (272)
1963Ramon Sota (287)
1962Not Held
1961Angel Miguel (267)
1960Sebastian Miguel (286)
1959Peter Thomson (286)
1958Peter Alliss (268)
1957Max Faulkner (283)
1956Peter Alliss (285)
1955(a) H. de Lamaze (271)
1954Sebastian Miguel (268)
1953Max Faulkner (NA)
1952Max Faulkner (275)
1951M.Provencio (281)
1950A.Cerda (NA)
1949M.Morcillo (280)
1948M.Morcillo (268)
1947(a) M.Gonzalez (272)
1946M.Morcillo (281)
1945C.Celles (274)
1944N.Sagardia (NA)
1943M.Provencio (286)
1942G.Gonzalez (264)
1941M.Provencio (283)
1940Not Held
1939Not Held
1938Not Held
1937Not Held
1936Not Held
1935Angel de la Torre (NA)
1934J.Bernardino (NA)
1933Gabriel Gonzalez (NA)
1932Gabriel Gonzalez (NA)
1931Not Held
1930J.Bernardino (NA)
1929E.Lafitte (NA)
1928Arnaud Massy (NA)
1927Arnaud Massy (NA)
1926J.Bernardino (NA)
1925Angel de la Torre (NA)
1924Not Held
1923Angel de la Torre (NA)
1922Not Held
1921E.Lafitte (NA)
1920Not Held
1919Angel de la Torre (NA)
1918Not Held
1917Angel de la Torre (NA)
1916Angel de la Torre (NA)
1915Not Held
1914Not Held
1913Not Held
1912Arnaud Massy (NA)
Note:Formerly called Andalucia Open de Espana Valle Romano (2006), Jazztel
Open de Espana en Andalucia (2005), Canarias Open de Espana (2002-04), Via Digital Open de Espana (2001), Peugeot Open de Espana (1994, 97-2000), Peugeot Spanish Open (1986-93, 95-96), Benson & Hedges Spanish Open (1980-85), Spanish Open (1971-79).

Top Contenders in the Field
Francesco Molinari------mcT-16------T-11T-27---Won
Pablo Larrazabal---------------mcT-60T-57T-3T-2
A. Canizares------------mcT-22T-24T-3mcT-2
Soren KjeldsenT-63T-27T-21T-32------T-24mc---T-2
Matteo Manassero------------------------T-29T-7
Simon Dysonmc---mc---T-4mc---T-17T-5T-12
Anders HansenT-32---------------mc---2ndT-16
Peter LawrieT-2mcT-3T-32T-20WonT-3mcT-22T-16
Robert Rock------T-5166thmcT-54T-31T-57T-29T-16
Gregory Bourdy------T-51mcT-8mcT-8T-10T-15T-21
R. Cabrera-BellomcT-40---mcmcT-72T-6T-37T-11T-27
James Morrison---------------------2ndT-36T-32
Jose M. OlazabalT-10mc------------------T-56T-46
G. Fdez-Castanomc---mcT-56T-44mcT-48T-30---T-53
David Horsey------------------T-8T-46T-5mc
Thomas Levet---74th---------mcWon81stT-11mc
Niclas Fasth------T-67WonT-31T-10T-24mcT-15mc
Christian CevaermcWonmc---mc---T-52mcT-15mc
Miguel A. JimenezT-19------T-39T-52T-4T-31T-17T-46mc
Alvaro QuirosT-63---mcT-39mcT-37T-17Wonmcmc
Sergio GarciaT-19---------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Sergio Garcia
Darkhorse - David Horsey
Last Week's Pick to Win (T.Woods, J.Rose, K.Bradley) - T-4, T-25, T-54
Last Week's Darkhorse (D.Johnson, H.Stenson, B.Haas) - T-13, T-18, T-20
The Spanish Open heads to Valencia and the Parador de El Saler, as Italian Francesco Molinari attempts to become the first back-to-back winner in 60 years. This is the fourth time that Parador de El Saler is hosting the tournament and first since 2001, when Robert Karlsson captured the title.

Four of the top-50 players in the world rankings are in the field this week -- Spaniards Sergio Garcia (13) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (31), and Italians Francesco Molinari (40) and Matteo Manassero (49). Garcia, the 2002 champion, leads the Spainish contingent along with Fernandez-Castano, Rafael Cabrera- Bello, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Pablo Larrazabal and 2010 champion Alvaro Quiros.

Garcia, who has not played in this event since 2003, finished tied for eighth last week at the Masters and was tied for the lead after the first round. He has four top-10 finishes worldwide in 2013.

Jimenez is expected to play for the first time since the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in November. He has been sidelined due to a broken leg suffered while skiing.

The Open de Espana is a championship rich in tradition. Started in 1912, it is the fifth oldest national Open Championship in Europe. In 1972, this tournament became the first official European Tour event. It was staged at Pals and won by Antonio Garrido, who overcame Valentin Barrios in a playoff.

Last year, Molinari fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 in the final round to roar from behind and capture the title. The Italian finished at 8-under 280 and won by three strokes at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla over Soren Kjeldsen, Alejandro Canizares and Larrazabal. The victory was Molinari's third on the European Tour.

In 2011, South Africa's Thomas Aiken carded rounds of 68-68-72-70 and collected his first European Tour victory. Aiken finished at 10-under 278 and won by two strokes over Anders Hansen at Real Club de Golf El Prat. Aiken dedicated the victory to Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros, who passed away on the Saturday of the tournament after battling a brain tumor.

Max Faulkner was the last player to win this title two straight years, accomplishing the feat in 1952-53. Ballesteros is a three-time winner and was runner-up three times. The European Tour's all-time wins leader's last victory came here in 1995.

In 2010, Quiros parred the first playoff hole to defeat James Morrison and win his national title. Quiros became the first Spaniard since 2002 to win this event and fourth since the birth of the European Tour, joining Antonio Garrido, Ballesteros and Garcia. The 2010 playoff was the eighth in tournament history.

Peter Lawrie won his first European Tour title here when Ignacio Garrido's approach on the second playoff hole found water in 2008. Lawrie, who lost in a playoff here in 2003, only needed a par on the second extra hole to secure the victory. The tandem finished regulation at 15-under-par 273.

In 2006, Niclas Fasth birdied the fourth sudden-death playoff hole to beat John Bickerton. Fasth became the fifth Swedish player to capture this title, joining Joakim Haeggman (1993), Jarmo Sandelin (1999), Karlsson (2001) and Peter Hanson (2005).

At Golf Costa Adeje in 2003, the cut was 138 (minus-6), which set a European Tour record for lowest 36-hole cut. That mark was tied at the 2005 TCL Classic.

When Neil Coles captured the event in 1973, he became the only wire-to-wire winner of the tournament. Arnold Palmer's victory in 1975 made him the oldest champion at 45 years and 221 days. Dale Hayes was the youngest winner when he won in 1971 at 18 years and 290 days.

Next up for the European Tour will be the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea, where Bernd Wiesberger won the 2012 event.

04/16 15:11:16 ET

As of April 16, 2013, at 03:11 PM ET