Returns to The Open after a seven-year gap, having survived the 36-hole Final Qualifying event at St Annes Old Links on June 29.
The seven-time European Tour winner, now 40, had rounds of 64 and 68 for a 12-under-par total that put him in joint second place, with only three of the 70 players at the course progressing to Royal St George’s. He went there ranked 807th in the world, having reached a high of 27th earlier in his career.
He represented Continental Europe in three Seve Trophy matches against Britain and Ireland and played for Spain in the 2006 and 2009 World Cups, while his best major finishes to date are a tie for 10th in the 2013 U.S. Open and joint 20th at The Masters the same season.
He was the European Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2005, winning the KLM Open, and had more success in each of the following three years. Four of his first five victories were achieved in play-offs, including the 2008 British Masters against Lee Westwood at The Belfry, and he has twice lifted the Italian Open. The second of those successes came with a superb 24-under-par total in 2012.