- Real Club de Golf Guadalmina in Malaga to host the championship for the first time on September 21-24
- Defending champion Azahara Muñoz joined by former champions Connie Chen and Lee-Anne Pace
- Recent Solheim Cup stars Georgia Hall, Florentyna Parker, Carlota Ciganda and Suzann Pettersen headline the field
Real Club de Golf Guadalmina, the home club of the defending champion, Azahara Muñoz, is ready to host the Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino for the first time, in a fortnight.
Located in the village of San Pedro de Alcántara, Malaga, the tournament is expected to encapsulate the region’s slogan: ‘Costa del Sol, Costa del Golf’ when Europe’s top women return to the region on September 21-24.
Last year, there were jubilant scenes as Muñoz became the first Spanish winner of the event, after a spectacular duel with Beth Allen, at nearby Aloha Golf Club, only a month after representing Spain at the Olympic Games in Rio. This year, she will be joined by recent Solheim Cup competitors Georgia Hall, Florentyna Parker, Carlota Ciganda and Suzann Pettersen, among other recent champions.
Muñoz, the world number 77, spent her childhood at the golf school at Guadalmina and knows the venue better than anyone. She said: “To play well in Guadalmina, you should be accurate off the tee, but especially with the irons. The greens are quite undulated and split into different levels, so being in the right part of the green is essential. The standout hole during the tournament will be the 10th – a spectacular par 3 running along the beach, although there are many other beautiful holes, such as the fourth and eighth, which are long and complicated. The course is very challenging and you will have to play very well to succeed, so patience is important. Birdies can be made, but the field can catch you as soon as any errors come in, so you have to concentrate all the time.”
This will be the fourth time in history that the Costa del Sol welcomes Europe’s top women golfers, after the Spanish Open was played at Flamingos Golf in 2010, La Quinta in 2011 and Aloha Golf in 2016. The legendary Laura Davies won the title in 2010, while the trophy ended in the hands of fellow Englishwoman Melissa Reid in 2011.
The South Course at Real Club de Guadalmina, which was inaugurated in 1959, will undergo a change to the usual routing for the 2017 tournament, as the 18th will be played as the first, leaving the par-5 17th as last hole of the competition.
In the part of the course close to the sea, the order of the holes will be played as the designer Javier Arana had intended, so the 10th, usually the 11th, will be a par-3 which runs parallel to the beach.
The full-field Ladies European Tour event is sponsored by Turismo de Andalucía, Turismo Costa del Sol and Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Costa del Sol Occidental and will showcase the facilities in the region to a worldwide audience of golf tourists.
The tournament is also supported by Reale Seguros, Real Federación Española de Golf, Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, RCG Guadalmina, Consejo Superior de Deportes and organised by Deporte & Business.