European Tour heads to Spain for Open
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2005 Open de Espana | Preview | 13 Apr 2005
The European Tour plays the first of three events in Spain in season 2005 when the Jazztel Open de Espana en Andalucia starts Thursday over the San Roque Club’s layout in Cadiz in the south west of Spain. This will be the first time the event has been played here although the venue has played host to the final stage of European Tour qualifying in recent years.
The defending champion is Frenchman Christian Ceaver although his unlikely win last year was at the Feurteventura Club in the Canary Islands. I say unlikely in as much as he holed two shots from the fairway in his final round to win by one.
Coming the week following the US Masters, the field is not blessed with the leading European players but there are several who are in good form and even in a stronger field would be considered good chances to win.
Paul McGinly at number 64 in the world is the leading ranked player here and with three top 12’s in his last four starts he is a good chance to confirm that favoured status – in terms of ranking at least.
Niclas Fasth has continued to play well since his win in New Zealand in February. He was 8th in Portugal two weeks ago and is a player who seems to do well in the windy conditions that he will face this week. He is the second highest placed money earner on the 2005 European Tour money list here this week, behind Stephen Dodd, so his credentials are strong.
Stephen Dodd has surprised this season with his win in China, a runner up placing in Dubai and his 6th in Portugal two weeks ago. He has developed into a very good player this year and has every right to be considered a serious challenger to Fasth and McGinley.
Charles Schwartzel and Nick Dougherty have both won this season on the European Tour, Dougherty in Singapore and the 20-year-old Schwartzel in South Africa. Schwartzel continues to play well and the youngster, who is headed for the top, has a real chance here. Dougherty has done little wrong since his win in Singapore and has his chances here also.
Raphael Jacquelin has played very seldom of late but when he has, he has done well. He has yet to win a European Tour event but surely his time must come soon. He puts himself in position so often that a win is inevitable eventually.
Of the others Paul Lawrie and David Park and last week’s winner Robert Jan Derksen appear good longer shot chances. Lawrie blew a good opportunity in Portugal two weeks ago.
Australasians in the event are Stephen Scahill, who seems to be putting it together of late and Jarrod Moseley. Perhaps a surprising lack of numbers from down under although many will be re-joining the European Tour in China next week.