The event was first held in 1912. The last Spaniard to win the event was Sergio Garcia in 2002. Last year, Niclas Fasth needed four extra holes to take down John Bickerton for the title at San Roque Club.
That duo finished tied at 18-under, while Mattias Eliasson, Phillip Archer, Thomas Bjorn, Jose Manuel Lara, Gary Orr and David Griffiths ended just one stroke back.
In the playoff, Fasth and Bickerton played the 18th three times and both men parred it each time. They shifted to the ninth for the fourth extra hole and Fasth drained a 5-footer for birdie and the win.
Fasth could have avoided a playoff altogether, but he bogeyed the final two holes of regulation to force the extra session.
The Centro National de Golf has undergone significant changes since last year with added distance on seven holes. There is also water in play on five of the final seven holes, including on the 18th, which has been totally redesigned.
The GOLF CHANNEL will have coverage of all four rounds starting at 10:00 a.m. (et) Thursday and Friday and at 8:30 a.m. on the final two days. Darren Clarke is among the notables in the field.
The European Tour heads to Italy next week for the Telecom Italia Open, where hometown favorite Francesco Molinari won last year.