On Sunday, 365 days will have passed since Seve Ballesteros succumbed to a long battle with brain cancer. Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal is poised to pay tribute to the fallen great on the anniversary with a win in the Open de España.
Larrazabal trails Englishman Simon Dyson by a shot entering the final round at Real Club de Golf in Seville. Shooting 3-under 69 in the third round, Larrazabal is tied for second with Soren Kjeldsen on 4 under par.
“This is a special tournament for me as it is the Spanish Open,' said Larrazabal, who finished T-3 in this event last year a day after Ballesteros died. 'Seve won it a lot of times, Sergio (Garcia) has won it and Alvaro Quiros won it here in Seville two years ago. So many of my heroes have won the Spanish Open.'
Just a week ago, Larrazabal played with Ballesteros' 21-year-old son, Javier, in his debut in a pro tournament on the Alps Golf Tour. Larrazabal won the tournament in Barcelona on the same course where Seve made his professional debut in 1974. The young Ballesteros finished tied for 12th place.
The best finish for Larrazabal on the European Tour this season is a tie for ninth at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco. Last season, he outlasted Sergio Garcia in Germany in a five-hole playoff for the BMW International Open title.
A pair of other Spaniards are in contention for the national title on the centennial of its founding. Jorge Campillo trails Dyson by two shots while Alejandro Cañizares is three off the lead.