Canizares sets sights on second win

Alejandro Canizares has his sights set on a second successive win on the European Tour in the inaugural NH Collection Open.

The Spaniard lifted the Hassan Trophy three weeks ago and will be using his local knowledge of the course in Sotogrande would help his cause.

“La Reserva de Sotogrande is a course I know well,” said Canizares, who is attached to the nearby Valderrama.

“In 2008, I played the Spanish Championship there and sometimes I practice there with my father (Jose Maria, who played in four Ryder Cups).

“It is a longish course, fairly generous off the tee with quite a few elevation changes and undulating greens. Some holes are long; the sixth, for instance, is a three-wood par three. Wind is a big factor and it can really toughen up the course.

“The NH Collection Open is a very important event in this area. It may start modestly, but there is big room for growth, and hopefully more tournaments will return to Spain and boost Spanish golf.”

Spain has long been a popular destination for the European Tour, but hosted just one event in 2013 after the country was badly hit by the global economic crisis.

Canizares will not be the only player with knowledge of the new venue competing this week, although England’s Tom Lewis has rather more limited experience.

“Fortunately enough I played there with the English Golf Union,” Lewis said in a European Tour podcast.

“We were meant to play the Spanish amateur championship there a few years ago but it got cancelled because of bad weather.

“I was fortunate to play a practice round so I know it a little bit. If I remember rightly it’s quite hilly, you have some room to play with off the tee. The greens are slightly undulating but a lot bigger than they are in Morocco so it suits me to a tee really.”