The 40 year old has twice won two titles in a season – in 1998 and 1999 – but has never managed to pull off a hat-trick of victories. However Jiménez makes the short trip from his home in Malaga knowing that he is a strong contender to do just that following his successes in the Johnnie Walker Classic and the Algarve Open de Portugal Caixa Geral de Depositos in 2004.
In the process, Jiménez would take his total of triumphs on The European Tour International Schedule into double figures if he can finish ahead of a top class field at the José Maria Olazábal-designed course.
However he faces a stiff task as included in the field are the last three winners of the Volvo PGA Championship – Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn (2001), Anders Hansen of Denmark (2002) and Spain’s Ignacio Garrido, the defending champion at Wentworth Club next month.
The Spanish challenge looks particularly strong. In addition to Garrido and Jiménez, also taking part are Carlos Rodiles, who was edged out by Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson in a play-off for the Volvo Masters Andalucia at the end of the 2003 season, José Manuel Lara, Santiago Luna and Ivo Giner, a two time winner on the European Challenge Tour last season.
This new tournament carries a prize fund of €1,000,000 with a first prize of €166,660. The introduction of the Open de Sevilla means that Spain will host two tournaments back to back, with this week’s event being followed by the Canarias Open de España.
It will also be the first of two tournaments on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule to be played at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, as the club will also host the World Golf Championships – World Cup from November 18-21.
Located at Montequinto, three kilometres south of Seville, the course was designed by two time Masters Champion Olazábal and opened in 1992, measuring 7,140 yards (6,529 metres) with a par of 72.