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Home players hone their skills ahead of Valderrama

Seventeen Spanish players will tee it up at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters

Sergio García will lead the Spanish contingent next Thursday as the Andalucía Valderrama Masters gets underway with the support of the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía. Tournament host García is set to defend the title he won last year, in the wake of becoming the all-time European Ryder Cup points leader in Paris last month.

He will be joined by double Masters winner José María Olazábal (1994 and 1999), as well as compatriots Pep Anglés, Jorge Campillo, Alejandro Cañizares, Nacho Elvira, Scott Fernández, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Sebastián García, Ángel Hidalgo, Pablo Larrazábal, Pedro Oriol, Carlos Pigem, Álvaro Quirós, Eduardo de la Riva, Santiago Tarrio and Samuel del Val.

There is much at stake in this Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation, the last European Tour event of the season to be played in European soil, with a prize fund of two million euro. For Jorge Campillo it will be the opportunity to cap off a great season. After six top-5 and ten top-20 finishes, Campillo is seen as a strong challenger for the title. Nacho Elvira and Pablo Larrazábal will look to consolidate their position inside Europe’s top 60 in order to secure their spot at the Race to Dubai’s final event.

Other participants, such as Alejandro Cañizares, Scott Fernández, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Pedro Oriol or Álvaro Quirós, will need a great performance this week to keep their playing rights. In any case, it will be a crucial week for the home contingent as they enjoy the full support of thousands of Spanish fans.

One of the more excited participants ahead of the event is sure to be a young player from Málaga, Angel Hidalgo, who makes his professional debut invited by the organizers after a great amateur career: 2016 International Spanish Champion sub-18, 2017 Europe Team Champion, 2016 and 2018 Spanish Champion. Hidalgo turned professional this month. 

A very special Pro-Am

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters Pro-Am will be an unforgettable experience for a group of young promising golfers from Andalucía. The Andalusian Golf Federation, one of the tournament sponsors, has offered six spots in the Pro-Am to the current boy and girl champions of Andalusia by age groups. These kids that train and dream of becoming top golfers will have a chance to share a round with their heroes on Wednesday.

Other young fans at tomorrow’s Pro-Am will be pupils from Club de Golf La Cañada’s Junior Golf School. A total of 30 pupils divided into groups will follow the Spanish pros.

Healthy golf – Walk & Win

Spectators attending the Andalucía Valderrama Masters on Saturday are invited to join the Walk & Win event, a ground-breaking European Tour initiative supported by QuirónSalud with the purpose of promoting healthy lifestyle habits amongst golf fans.

Every spectator will be offered a Walk & Win participation card at the entrance of Real Club Valderrama. In order to participate, they must follow the established route as they enjoy watching the action. They will have their card stamped when they pass by the 5th hole and again on the 13th, and will eventually hand it in at the QuirónSalud tent after having walked a total of over three and a half miles.

 

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation start at €15 for the Pro-Am on Wednesday October 17, €20 for Thursday and Friday and €30 on Saturday and Sunday. Children aged under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Tickets are available now HERE

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía through the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, with the added institutional support of the Diputación de Cádiz, the San Roque City Council, the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation and the Marbella City Council. It also enjoys the support of La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Santander Private Banking, Shell, Exterior Plus and Samsic Iberia. Only Water, Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud, Coca-Cola, Varma, Korporate Technologies Group and Volvo are official suppliers.

www.andaluciavalderramamasters.com

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Harrington joins field for Valderrama

Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington has become the latest addition to the field at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, as the Irishman targets a place in the final Rolex Series events of the 2018 Race to Dubai.

Harrington has been on a strong run of form of late, with three top tens in his past five events, and he made a late decision to travel to the Andalucia region of Spain in order to build on that momentum on a golf course upon which he has enjoyed some strong results.

Pep Anglés©RC Valderrama

The Dubliner has a string of good performances at the famous venue of The 1997 Ryder Cup, including a runner-up finish in the Volvo Masters in 1999 and a top five in the 2000 WGC-American Express Championship.

Having registered a top 30 finish last year as his fellow Major winner Sergio Garcia claimed a glorious victory, Harrington is relishing the opportunity to return to the renowned Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed course.

“Valderrama is one of the best golf courses we have in Europe,” said Harrington, who was one of the five Vice Captains in the winning European team for The 2018 Ryder Cup. “It’s a great tournament venue and a really good course to play.

“I’m just outside the automatic qualifying spots for the Turkish Airlines Open, so I need to make a few more points to get to Turkey. So it’s a great opportunity for me to go to a course I’m very familiar with, and get a bit of sun on my back too, so I’m looking forward to it.

“My form has been good, so hopefully I can take that form into the week, because I certainly need a decent performance. I thought I would finish better at Walton Heath but I left a few shots out on the golf course. Hopefully I can play well this week at Valderrama and get the points that I need.”


José Mari Olazábal©RC Valderrama

Last year, Garcia delighted Spanish fans with an emotional victory in Sotogrande, as he sealed his third win of the season to add to his maiden Major title at Augusta National as well as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic trophy.

Garcia will return to defend his title as he plays for the first time since becoming the record points-scorer in The Ryder Cup, beating Sir Nick Faldo’s record by a half a point with a total of 25.5.

Harrington also joins the victorious 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn in the field, as well as two more of the Vice Captains – 23-time European Tour winner Lee Westwood and another former European Tour Number One Robert Karlsson.

This year’s tournament, which takes place from October 18-21, will once again be sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The Spaniard set up his charitable foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically-deprived children through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as free-time activity.

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation start at €15 for the Pro-Am on Wednesday October 17, €20 for Thursday and Friday and €30 on Saturday and Sunday. Children aged under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Tickets are available now HERE

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía through the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, with the added institutional support of the Diputación de Cádiz, the San Roque City Council and the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation. It also enjoys the support of La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Santander Private Banking, Shell, Exterior Plus and Samsic Iberia. Only Water, Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud, Coca-Cola, Varma and Korporate Technologies Group are official suppliers.

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Ryder Cup points leader set to defend Valderrama title

Sergio García will defend his Andalucía Valderrama Masters title from October 18-21 in the wake of becoming all-time Ryder Cup points leader at the Golf National. This feat is the result of nearly two decades of steady success in an event focused on team action rather than individual performance.

Sergio made this point very clearly at the start of the week in Paris: “I’m not concerned by records, I’m not even thinking about that. If I managed to beat that record, but we lost the Ryder Cup, it would be worthless to me. I’m only interested in adding points to the team so that we win back together the Cup for Europe. Only the team counts this week.”

It was Sergio’s ninth appearance in the showdown against the US, one more than his childhood hero Seve Ballesteros. He made his debut at Brookline (3-1-1) where Europe lost, but the Spanish rookie exhibited the blend of talent, courage and team spirit that would enable him to take up the torch as one of the pillars of the European side.

While Seve revitalized the event by opening its doors to continental Europe and inspiring the team to new heights, Sergio has made a vital contribution to consolidating European dominance over the last two decades.

After a disappointing season this year, the 38-year-old arrived at the Albatros Course as a risky captain’s pick, but by week’s end he had cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players of the biennial event.

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 30: Sergio Garcia of Europe plays his shot from the first tee during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

His Sunday singles victory over Rickie Fowler capped a 3-1 week in which he was key to Europe’s sixth consecutive victory on home soil, and pushed his career Ryder Cup record to a sparkling 22-12-7 in his nine appearances, the 25.5 total points breaking the previous record.

It was a glorious and emotional moment after his win on Sunday: “Yeah, I don’t usually cry, but I couldn’t help it. What a week! It’s been a rough year, but you know, we fought hard. Obviously so thankful for Thomas to pick me and believe in me, and so happy, so happy to get the Cup back here in Paris and in Europe and for everyone to enjoy it as much as they did.”

But the team was definitely on the front of his mind: “Yeah, it means a lot but at the end of the day, I’ve always said it. It’s about the team and I’m happy that I was able to help with some of the points. It’s a bonus. It’s something that I never thought I would have the possibility of doing, and now that it’s happened, I’m just so happy. I mean, these guys are unbelievable.”

Next week at Real Club Valderrama, one of his favourite courses, Sergio will look to build on this positive momentum as he fights, this time individually, for his third Andalucía Valderrama Masters title.

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation are available HERE. Children under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía through the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, with the added institutional support of the Diputación de Cádiz, the San Roque City Council and the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation.

It also enjoys the support of La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Santander Private Banking, Shell, Exterior Plus and Samsic Iberia. Only Water, Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud, Coca-Cola, Varma and Korporate Technologies Group are official suppliers.

www.andaluciavalderramamasters.com

 

 

 

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The 17th at Valderrama – a hole steeped in history

The natural amphitheatre of Real Club Valderrama’s 17th green will return to the limelight from October 18-21 at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation, under the sponsorship of the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía.

Valderrama’s iconic par five 17th – originally the 8th, a rather nondescript hole of the former Las Aves layout – was first transformed by Robert Trent Jones and later redesigned by Seve Ballesteros into the feature hole of the final stretch, a spectacular amphitheatre capable of accommodating 7000 spectators.

Its challenging green, framed by bougainvillea studded gabion walls, has been the scene of unforgettable moments of glory and drama throughout Valderrama’s rich competitive history. This is a hole that lures the many but rewards the few.

Jiménez and McDowell shine in Valderrama. The first to tame #17 was Miguel Ángel Jiménez during the second round of the 1994 Volvo Masters. “I had 202 yards to the front and 212 to the pin. I hit a 3-iron that started dead on line, pitched at the front of the green and rolled thirty feet into the hole! I was too far away to see it drop, but the cheers of the crowd told the story”. A plaque on the tee immortalizes Miguel’s albatross.

Fourteen years later, Graeme McDowell faced a similar shot. This time G-Mac holed out with a 7-iron to a pin tucked to the right of the green.   

A Ryder Cup hole. Seve Ballesteros had redesigned #17 for the 1993 Volvo Masters, and none knew better than the Spanish Captain that it would be the crucial hole of the 1997 Ryder Cup. One of the turning points of the event was Nacho Garrido’s fabulous bunker shot during the Saturday morning fourballs.

His partner, José María Olazábal recalls: “The key moment was on 17 when we were really struggling against Phil Mickelson and Tom Lehman. Nacho’s second was bunkered past the green while Phil had hit a superb shot to six feet. Nacho’s bunker shot was amazing; the best bunker specialist couldn’t have done it in a hundred tries. He made his putt and Phil missed, so we halved that hole and eventually halved the match. It was an incredible moment.”

The Sunday singles were close, and it was on the 17th green that Europe got the half to retain the Cup, as Brad Faxon missed a ten-footer to lose to Bernhard Langer.

Tiger struggles. #17 was notoriously cruel to Tiger Woods at the 1999 WGC-American Express Championship when he held a two-stroke lead over Miguel Ángel Jiménez on Sunday. The then world number one was well aware of the challenge of this green – having putted into the hazard during the Ryder Cup – so he decided to lay up.

He played his third the way he wanted and was surprised by the murmurs of the gallery as his ball rolled slowly back into the water. He then tried to play safe with his fifth, but left himself a tricky putt from the back fringe. He ended with a triple bogey that allowed Jiménez to get back in it. Woods eventually won on the first playoff hole.

2017 Hoyo 17 Sergio García©RC Valderrama

Great memories for Sergio. Sergio García is a big Valderrama fan, but #17 had not been particularly kind to him in the past until last year, when it became his best ally as it yielded three consecutive birdies. The home hero birdied Valderrama’s signature hole on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on his way to victory in front of an enthusiastic gallery – great memories to bring with him to the defence of his Andalucía Valderrama Masters title in October.

Early bird tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation are just €8 for the Pro-Am on Wednesday October 17, €12 on Thursday and Friday of the tournament and €20 on Saturday and Sunday. Children aged under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Tickets are available now HERE

Jefe de Prensa del Circuito Europeo en España, mariaacacia@mariaacacia.com

European Tour Communications, media@europeantour.com

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Sensational Sergio – The King of Valderrama

Sergio Garcia continued his love affair with Real Club Valderrama as he claimed a sixth European Tour win on Spanish soil at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The home hero won the last staging event of this event here in 2011 as he became the first Spaniard to win a European Tour stroke play tournament over the famous layout.

He has only finished outside the top ten once in 13 events here, with eight top fives, and a closing round of 67 moved him to 12 under and a one-shot win over Dutchman Joost Luiten.

The win is Garcia’s third of the season after he won his maiden Major Championship at the Masters Tournament to go with the Dubai Desert Classic, and closes the gap on Tommy Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

England’s Daniel Brooks was then at seven under, two shots clear of Welshman Jamie Donaldson and three ahead of Australia’s Wade Ormsby as all three men moved inside the top 101 in the Rankings to secure their playing privileges for next season.

For Luiten it was just a second top ten of the season but he has been a picture of consistency this term, making 18 of 22 cuts.

The headlines belong to Garcia, though, who became an Honorary Life Member of the European Tour on Friday night and is now a 14-time winner.

“It was amazing,” he said. “All three of us played amazing.

“Daniel played great with everything that he had on the line. Joost played unbelievable. I played really well and I felt like maybe I could get away and he just kept coming back and back and made it an amazing match.

“I stayed patient the whole time, I made sure the bad moments did not affect me too much and made a couple of really key putts coming in.

“The people were unbelievable, amazing, so many people came out and supported, it was really a treat.

“I want to dedicate this one to my wife Angela and our little baby coming next year in March.”

Garcia holed a slippery one down the hill on the par five fourth to get to nine under but when Luiten hit a stunning approach to tap-in range on the fifth and put his tee-shot on the par three sixth to six feet and made the putt, he was just one off the lead.

It was advantage Luiten on the ninth when he put his approach close but Garcia holed with a five wood from the fringe with Luiten following him in as both men made birdies.

A 15-footer on the tenth made it a two-shot lead and Garcia took advantage of the par five 11th to go three ahead.

No regrets for Luiten

He bogeyed the par three 12th after finding sand off the tee while Luiten got up and down from the same position and, with the 31 year old holing a long putt for birdie after an excellent second from the rough on the next, the lead was down to one.

Luiten put an impressive tee-shot into the par three 15th to join the lead but a three-putt on the 16th meant Garcia had a one-shot lead with two to play with both men birdieing the 17th and parring the last.

A six-foot right-to-lefter on the second briefly had Brooks – who began the week in 123rd – in a share of the lead but when he dropped shots on the eighth and 11th, his card looked to once again be in danger.

He made an excellent up-and-down from the sand on the 12th for par but better was to come on the next. He sent his tee-shot left and had a bad lie and restricted swing but hit a brilliant hooked approach to make a birdie.

An excellent approach to the next then got him back into red numbers on the day and gave him a three-shot cushion over the next best players behind him, giving him the breathing space to bogey the 16th and still move up to 97th.

Donaldson needed at least a top-eight finish to have chance to avoid going to Qualifying School or using his Career Money List exemption next season but a closing 71 saw him finish fourth and move from 118th to 99th.

He had two birdies and two bogeys with a double-bogey from Scott Jamieson on the 16th dropping the Scotsman out of a tie for fourth and helping Donaldson over the line.

Ormsby began the week 106th in the Race to Dubai but was well placed on the Access List and a closing 70 helped him up to a comfortable 82nd.

Anders Hansen finished alongside Jamieson at three under, a shot clear of Nino Bertasio, Aaron Rai, Robert Rock and Julian Suri.

Ashley Chesters went 69-68 over the weekend to finish at one under and make his way onto the Access List alongside Ricardo Gouveia who finished at one over.

Zander Lombard and Joël Stalter were the players to drop out of the Access List places.

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Strong international field at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters

A strong field of international players will challenge this week for the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation under the sponsorship of the Junta de Andalucía with the support of Heineken, Solán de Cabras, Rolex, La Reserva de Sotogrande, Osborne and Volvo. Tournament host Sergio García will defend his title both against European Tour seasoned champions and rising stars.     

Five Major champions will tee it off on Thursday at Real Club Valderrama. Spaniards Sergio García (current Masters champion) and José María Olazábal (1994 and 1999 Masters), will be joined by Padraig Harrington (2007 and 2008 Open Championship and 2008 US PGA Championship), Danny Willet (2016 Masters) and Martin Kaymer (2010 US PGA Championship and 2014 US Open).

Soren Kjeldsen

This season’s European Tour winners will arrive in full form, including England’s Matt Wallace (Open de Portugal); Italian duo Edoardo Molinari (Trophee Hassan II) and Renato Paratore (Nordea Masters); American Julian Suri (Made in Denmark); France’s Romain Wattel (KLM Open) or Argentina’s Andrés Romero (BMW International Open).

Valderrama has attracted a strong Swedish contingent led by Robert Karlsson, Europe’s number one in 2008 with 11 European Tour titles to his name, joined by fellow countrymen Peter Hanson, Niclas Fasth and Johan Edfords.

As for England, Andrew Johnston, winner of last year’s Open de España at Valderrama in extremely tough conditions will look to challenge again after recovering from shoulder injury; Matt Wallace, arrives fresh from a fourth-place finish in Italy; James Morrison, Andy Sullivan, Lee Slattery or Robert Rock are other big English names challenging for the title.

Dane Søren Kjeldsen has a great record in Valderrama – winner of the 2008 Volvo Masters, tied 2nd in the 2010 Andalucía Valderrama Masters, tied 4th in lasts year’s Open de España. Two of his four European Tour titles have come in Andalusia (2008 Volvo Masters and 2009 Open de Andalucía).

Ireland’s Shane Lowry, winner of the 2015 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, Holland’s Joos Luiten, runner up to Johnston at the 2017 Open de España, Italy’s Mateo Manassero, Welsh duo Bradley Dredge and Jamie Donaldson or Frenchmen Raphaël Jacquelin and Grégory Bourdy are sure to give a good show to the fans this week.

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Kaymer stars again in Valderrama field

  • “If there is one course I can play for the rest of my life it would be Valderrama.”

Germany’s Martin Kaymer, the last entry to the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation to be held at Real Club Valderrama from October 19-22 sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia, joins a list of Major winners featuring José María Olazábal, Sergio García, Padraig Harrington and Danny Willett.

The two-time Major winner returns for the second successive season to one of his favourite courses “one of the most iconic golf courses in Europe”. Last year he challenged for the title entering the final round one shot off the lead, but eventually finished for a share of sixth place as Englishman Andrew Johnston lifted the Open de España title.

The two-time Major winner returns for the second successive season to one of his favourite courses

He was also tied sixth at the 2007 Volvo Masters; he finished 21st at the 2010 Andalucía Valderrama Masters and 23rd the following year as he celebrated the victory of his good friend Sergio García, next week’s defending champion and tournament host.

Kaymer is a self-declared lover of Spain – including Iberian ham – and has often expressed his admiration for the prestigious southern Spanish layout: “If there is one course I can play for the rest of my life it would be Valderrama – it’s so pretty. But you should never underestimate this golf course. It is a tricky golf course that you need a lot of respect for. The greens are very small so it is all about ball striking – it is never going to be a putting competition. You have to be very strategic and I really enjoy that. I’ve done well here in the past too, so those are all good reasons to come back.”

Martin Kaymer (Dusseldorf 28/12/1984) turned professional at age 20 in 2005. His 23 professional wins include two Majors, the 2010 US PGA Championship and the 2014 US Open, as well as the 2014 The Players Championship, the flagship event of the PGA Tour. In 2010 he was crowned Europe’s number one and he led the Official World Ranking for eight weeks in 2011.

The four-time Ryder Cup player – winner in 2010, 2012 and 2014 – famously sank the all-important putt for Europe in Medinah. “Olazábal came up to me on 16 and said, ‘Martin, we need your point, but do not know how… win it!’ And I did. This is a feeling that’s not describable,” he recalls. 

Besides Kaymer, a strong field of European Tour champions will challenge for the title, including Jamie Donaldson, Niclas Fasth, Anders Hansen, Peter Hanson, Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Raphaël Jacquelin, Andrew Johnston, Robert Karlsson, Søren Kjeldsen, Shane Lowrie, Matteo Manassero, Edoardo Molinari, James Morrison, Thorbjørn Olesen, Renato Paratore, Andrés Romero, Julian Suri, Romain Wattel, Danny Willett…

15 Spanish players will make up the home contingent for this third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters: Pep Anglés, Jorge Campillo, Alejandro Cañizares, Nacho Elvira, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Sergio García, Pablo Larrazábal, José María Olazábal, Adrián Otaegui, Marcos Pastor, Carlos Pigem, Álvaro Quirós, Jon Rahm, Eduardo de la Riva, Samuel del Val.

Photos: ©RC Valderrama

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Harrington to make Valderrama return

Padraig Harrington will play on Spanish soil for the first time in nine years when the three-time Major winner joins Masters champion Sergio García and World Number Five Jon Rahm at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation.

The Irishman has not played competitively in Spain since his double major-winning season in 2008, when he claimed a top 15 finish at the Volvo Masters on the famous Real Club Valderrama course in Andalucia, three months after winning the US PGA Championship, his third and most recent Major title.

Harrington has enjoyed great success in Spain, having claimed his maiden European Tour victory in the Peugeot Spanish Open back in 1996 at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, before earning another win four years later -BBVA Open Turespaña Masters- in the capital city of Madrid.

His third and latest Spanish triumph came on the idyllic Andalucian region in 2001 when he overcame his compatriot Paul McGinley by one shot at Montecastillo Golf Resort.

The 46 year old’s most recent European Tour victory came on the Iberian Peninsula, at the 2016 Portugal Masters, and he will be confident of adding to his title haul when he returns to Spain the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, which is sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia, from October 19-22.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Spain and especially to Valderrama,” said the Dubliner. “It’s one of those really special golf courses and obviously has a great history, being a former Ryder Cup venue.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Spain and it’s always nice to go back to a country where you’ve been successful. The Spanish fans have always been great to me and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve managed to win three times there.

“I’m sure they will come out in force again at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and it is sure to be a great week.”

The return of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters will see tournament host García play on home soil for the first time since his famous Masters Tournament triumph in April, when he overcame Englishman Justin Rose in a play-off. The 37 year old is a defending champion of sorts, having won the event the last time it was played back in 2011.

Rahm, meanwhile, will make his first appearance in Spain since turning professional after a meteoric rise to the top of the game. The 22 year old turned professional in 2016 and claimed his maiden professional title on the USA’s PGA Tour in January.

He then emulated his hero Seve Ballesteros in July when he stormed to a dominant victory and his first European Tour win at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

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Sergio García, proud host of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters

The Real Club Valderrama will stage the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, the last European Tour stop on European soil before heading for China, Turkey, South Africa and Dubai. From October 19-22, the event will be sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of the Sergio García Foundation.

Sergio is a big fan of Valderrama. “Valderrama is a very special place for me, full of good memories – obviously the best when I finally managed to win in 2011. It is one of my favourite courses, one of the best in the world, and I always enjoy playing there.”

The Masters champion is hosting a European Tour event at Valderrama for the second consecutive year.

“I am delighted to support the Andalucía Valderrama Masters through my Foundation. As the tournament host, I would love to see everyone come and enjoy a great event and a wonderful occasion for all the Spanish players.

“The course is always in top condition, with fast greens and superb maintenance. At last year’s Open de España we saw a big improvement in playability with the pruning of many cork trees, particularly on holes 8, 13 and 18.

“Each hole in Valderrama has its own attraction and I like them all, because they force you to keep thinking and stay focused from the first to the last shot. It is a very demanding course that doesn’t give you any breaks. You need to put the ball in the right places and keep the errors to the minimum, but you are bound to make errors, so patience is key at Valderrama. You must respect this course or it will turn against you at any moment. One of the things I like most is that it allows you to use all the clubs in the bag.”

Including his 2011 win, García has an outstanding record at Valderrama: 7th at the 1999 WGC-American Express; 5th at the 2000 WGC-American Express; 7th at the 2002 and 2003 Volvo Masters; runner-up at three consecutive Volvo Masters from 2004 to 2006; 34th at the 2007 Volvo Masters; 4th at the 2008 Volvo Masters; 11th at the inaugural Andalucía Masters in 2010, winner in 2011 and 3rd at the 2016 Open de España.

“Last year I had another chance of winning at the Open de España. In the end I didn’t make it, but it was a positive week because I kept trying up to the last putt – I gave it my best shot. I enjoyed being the tournament host and felt proud every time I saw the name of my Foundation on the course.

We had a fairly good gallery and many visitors to our stand. I want to thank them all because we raised 65.480 euro for the Spanish Cancer Association of Castellón. The money was used to rent some apartments for the families of cancer patients who can’t afford them, so the family can be together during treatment.”

Sergio García, supported by his family, set up his charitable Foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically deprived children and youth through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as a free-time activity.

The Foundation supports on a regular or occasional basis, a variety of initiatives in favour of persons with disabilities. The Sergio García Foundation and the Deporte y Desafío Foundation joined forces in 2003 with the objective of introducing adaptive golf in Spain.

They developed together a twofold programme aimed, firstly, at making golf accessible to people with disabilities, thus helping them to be socially integrated. The second aim was to promote adaptive golf throughout the whole of Spain by means of specific training courses directed at golf teaching professionals. The Spanish Golf Federation as well as the Autonomic Federations joined the initiative.

Tickets for the Andalucía Valderrama Masters will be available at: http://www.andaluciavalderramamasters.com/en/public-tickets

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