The event takes place at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid from 7 to 10 October
The golfers playing in the 2021 Acciona Open de España presented by Madrid, a European Tour event that takes place from 7 to 10 October at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, are preparing for the 93rd edition a competition whose long history includes a number of records and figures that will provide them all with an extra challenge.
We start with a special mention of the fact that the youngest and oldest winners of the tournament are both Spaniards -Sergio García and Miguel Ángel Jiménez- and that relatively recently the record number of playoff holes on the European Tour was equalled at the event, with no fewer than nine additional holes required to find a winner.
Furthermore, at the last staging of the competition, in 2019, Jon Rahm equalled the event’s lowest ever score of no less than 22 under par, previously set by Kenneth Ferrie in 2003, when he won a playoff against Peter Hedblom and Peter Lawrie.
Sergio García and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, the youngest and oldest winners
At the age of just 22 years and 109 days, Sergio García won the Open de España at El Cortijo (Las Palmas) in 2002. With what was his fourth professional title, Sergio set the record for the youngest winner of the Open de España since it became part of the European Tour in 1972.
At the other end of the spectrum, Miguel Ángel Jiménez won at the PGA Catalunya Resort in 2014 at 50 years and 133 days of age to claim his twenty-first European Tour victory and become the event’s oldest winner.
Ten titles claimed in a playoff
Miguel Ángel Jiménez won his title on the first playoff hole with Richard Green and Thomas Pieters. It was the tenth time the Open de España had been decided by a playoff since 1972.
Antonio Garrido beat Valentín Barrios in 1972; Eduardo Romero defeated Seve Ballesteros in 1991; Mark James saw off Greg Norman in 1997; Kenneth Ferrie took down Peter Hedblom and Peter Lawrie in 2003; Peter Hanson held off Peter Gustafsson in 2005; Niclas Fasth overcame John Bickerton in 2006; Peter Lawrie sunk Ignacio Garrido in 2008 and Álvaro Quirós did the same to James Morrison in 2010.
A record 9-hole playoff at El Saler!
The 2013 playoff, between Raphael Jacquelin, Felipe Aguilar and Maximilian Kieffer, on the 18th hole at El Saler is certainly worthy of a paragraph of its own. The Chilean player was knocked out after the third hole, but Jacquelin and Kieffer battled on until the Frenchman finally won on the ninth extra hole, equalling the European Tour record.
Two amateurs who beat the pros
The Open de España winners’ circle also includes two amateur players, the only ones to have lifted the trophy since its inauguration in 1912. They were Mario González, who won in 1947, and El Conde de Lamaze, who did so in 1955.
Ángel de la Torre, five wins to his name
The record number of victories belongs to Ángel de la Torre with five (1916, 1917, 1919, 1923, 1925), followed by Mariano Provencio with four (1934, 1941, 1943 and 1951) and with three each Arnaud Massy (1912, 1927 and 1928); Gabriel González (1932, 1933 and 1942); Marcelino Morcillo (1946, 1948 and 1949); Sebastián Miguel (1954, 1960 and 1967); Max Faulkner (1952, 1953 and 1957) and Seve Ballesteros (1981, 1985 and 1995).
Wire-to-wire winner, best winning round and biggest winning margin
There has only been one player in the tournament’s history who has led from start to finish, Neil Coles, in 1973. The best winning round was produced by Bernhard Langer, who shot 62 in 1984 to overturn a 7-shot deficit in what was also the biggest final-round comeback.
However, the biggest winning margin belongs to Sam Torrance in 1982, when he beat Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle and Roger Chapman, tied in second, by eight shots.
Lowest and highest winning score, lowest and highest cut
Another benchmark is the lowest winning score, 266 shots (-22), produced by Kenneth Ferrie (winner of the playoff), Peter Hedblom and Peter Lawrie in 2003, and equalled in 2019 by Jon Rahm’s sensational performance that took him to his second consecutive Open de España title. At the other end of the scale, the highest total came in 1972, when Antonio Garrido beat Valentín Barrios in a playoff after both of them finished with a score of 293 shots (+1).
Finally, the lowest cut came in 2003, at 138 shots (-6), while the highest came in 1987 at 153 (+9). Only the winner of that year’s tournament, Nick Faldo 286 (-2), managed to finish his four rounds at RC Las Brisas under par.
Antonio Garrido and Jon Rahm, a perfect circle
There were 46 years between the two triumphs, but they both came on the same day, April the 15th, in 1972 in the case of Antonio Garrido, and in 2018 for Jon Rahm. The famous Madrid native became the first Spanish winner on the European Tour when he won the 1972 Open de España at the Club de Golf Pals, the first tournament in our country to form part of the European Tour and also the first regular event on the circuit.
Exactly forty-six years later, in 2018, the gods of sport would bless another Spanish golfer with an Open de España title; Jon Rahm. The Basque player put on a spectacular show to claim the crown at Centro Nacional.
Wondering if the course at CC Villa de Madrid is easy? Look no further
Given the changes to the course and to the game itself, it is difficult to compare two performances from different eras, even when they both took place at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. However, in Padraig Harrington won the Open de España in 1996 at the Madrid club with a score of 16 under par, a record that was smashed in 2019 by Jon Rahm, who moved the bar to a seemingly impossible -22.
Severiano Ballesteros and Eduardo Romero set the course record of 63 shots in 1991, a result that the Norwegian Kristian Johannessen, in the first round of the 2019 edition, replicated with 7 birdies and an eagle and just one blemish on the 16th.
Anyone privileged enough to play the famous layout, designed by Javier Arana, will be left in no doubt, this is not an easy track. It is possible to post a good score if you play well, and some great players have produced some stunning rounds, but generally it is the course that wins. Nobody is completely immune to its lurking dangers, not even Severiano Ballesteros, widely regarded as the sport’s greatest magician.
Comparing the players’ aggregate scores to par, the results of the Opens de España that have been played at the course since the event became part of the European Tour are an indication of the challenges it poses.
There are several points of interest here, including the fact that only five Spaniards have finished under par on aggregate for their total appearances, in itself an indication of the difficulty. Some of them may surprise the fans: Seve Ballesteros, Pedro Linhart, José María Olazábal, Jesús María Arruti and Manuel Calero.
Some players have never managed to finish under par in any of their participations and only one has managed to sign for a red number every time they have played, which is a clear indicator of the difficulty of the venue. Some players have had their record ruined by one poor performance; Txomin Hospital has played three tournaments under par, but his other appearance proved far more challenging.
So that everyone can draw their own conclusions, here is the ranking of Spaniards by their aggregate performance at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, with a minimum of three appearances at the Open de España.
PLAYER / TOURNAMENTS / SCORE TO PAR
Seve Ballesteros / 6 / -42
Pedro Linhart / 4 / -19
José María Olazábal / 4 -17
Jesús María Arruti / 3 / -2
Manuel Calero / 3 / -1
Manuel Piñero / 6 / +6
Ignacio Garrido / 4 / +6
Juan Anglada / 3 / +6
José Dávila / 3 / +7
Mariano Aparicio / 3 / +9
Domingo Hospital / 4 / +9
Manuel Moreno / 4 / +11
José Rivero / 6 / +11
Juan Carlos Piñero / 3 / +11
José María Cañizares / 6 / +13
Diego Borrego / 4 / +14
Santiago Luna / 6 / +14
Carlos Suneson / 3 / +16
Yago Beamonte / 4 / +17
Miguel Angel Martín / 6 / +17
Alvaro Salto / 3 / +19
Manuel Ballesteros / 3 / +22
Ignacio Gervás / 5 / +22
Miguel Angel Jiménez / 5 / +24
Emilio Rodríguez / 3 / +24
José Manuel Carriles / 5 / +26
Antonio Garrido / 5 / +28
Juan Quirós / 6 / +30
Juan Andrés Vizcaya / 3 / +32
Alfonso Piñero / 6 / +38
Ramón Sota / 3 / +46
Germán Garrido / 5 / +49
José Rozadilla / 6 / +52
Víctor Fernández-Grande / 5 / +54