THE Spanish Open returns to the European Tour schedule after missing out last year and Jon Rahm plays on the course he used while combining his studies with his amateur golf career.
When the tournament was last held at the Centro Nacional de Golf 10 years ago when Charl Schwartzel won.
- Course: Centro Nacional de Golf, Madrid, Spain: 7096 yards, Par 72
I think a Spaniard is going to win here this week but not the one you think. Rahm has had a brilliant season and his fourth-place finish at Augusta was a great result but Larrazabal could be the guy who lifts the crown.
He has only played six European Tour events but after poor performances in Abu Dhabi and Dubai he has finished third and fourth twice.
Last year he had the habit of throwing in the odd bad round but this year he seems to have tightened his game up a bit. Apart from a third and a second in 2010 and 2011 he has not had the best of times in this competition but this might be his time.
- GIR: 74.2% (28th). Putting Average: 29.5 (99th).
If a Spaniard fails to win Dunne could take advantage. He won the British Masters last year but has struggled a bit since turning pro in 2015.
However, in the past few weeks it seems to have all come together on the PGA Tour. He finished eighth in the Houston Open a fortnight ago which followed a fifth place in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.
With the exposed layout and conditions more like a British autumn this could suit the Dubliner and I hope he continues the form he has been showing and gets his second Tour win.
- GIR: 75.2% (12th). Putting Average: 29.17 (71st).
The breakthrough win on the European Tour for Otaegui came last year at the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play and a lot has been expected from the Spaniard. The 25-year-old was mentored in his younger years by Jose Maria Olazabal and they are still in contact with each other.
Last year he played 31 tournaments on Tour and looks to have cut back which could pay dividends. He has been steadily improving this year with a T12 and T10 in his last two tournaments and could go close here in Madrid.
- GIR: 76.7% (7). Putting Average: 29.7% (121).