Harrington to make Valderrama return

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Credit Getty Images: ALBUFEIRA, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 21: Padraig Harrington of Ireland tees off on the 15th during day one of the 2017 Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria Golf Club on September 21, 2017 in Albufeira, Portugal. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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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