The Spanish pair of Maria Hernández and Azahara Muñoz will be making their first European Nations Cup appearance this week at La Sella Golf Resort in Alicante and are relishing the opportunity to experience the home gallery behind them.

“It’s always nice to play for your country and in your own country,” said 23-year-old Muñoz, from San Pedro near Malaga.

Hernández, 25, from Pamplona, added: “It’s very nice to represent Spain. It’s our home country and we’ve played for it when we were amateurs but since we have been professionals we don’t do it anymore.”

The duo is teaming up in the special 72-hole stroke play event, which starts on Thursday. There are 18 teams of two players from different countries across Europe, with two invited teams from Australia and the USA.

Hernández was clearly delighted to be playing alongside her old Spanish national team mate.

“We have played for many, many years together on the European teams representing our country so we know each other pretty well. It will be like playing two, three or four years ago, so it’s nothing new for us,” said the 2010 Allianz Ladies Slovak Open champion.

“We used to play the European championships, it was six players, but for two or three years I played foursomes with her. I know I have played with her in foursomes and I’m going to guess, five or six times.

“I think we are very similar players so there will be consistency. I think there are some holes where it will be one of the other can play more aggressive but our game is very similar.”

Muñoz stressed that the camaraderie in the Spanish team will add to their advantage. 

“I think it’s going to be good because we played a lot of golf together in the European teams and we played in the Junior Solheim Cup. Our games are really similar, we hit the ball exactly the same distance and we are pretty straight. I think it’s going to be like, when we play the Valencian Cup, as long as we play well, it’s going to be pretty similar for each other. It’s not that she hits it really far and then I have a short shot or vice versa,” said the 2009 Madrid Ladies Masters champion.

After playing her first practice round, Muñoz was impressed with the quality of the course.

“I like it. I didn’t know what to expect. The greens are rolling really nice and the rough is thick and it’s pretty narrow so I think it’s going to be a good test,” she said.  

The 2010 LPGA Rookie of the Year preferred Thursday and Saturday’s four balls to the Valencian Cup format to be played on Friday and Sunday.

“I think I like the four ball better because you can go really low,” she added.