Aiken on strong Spanish run

Thomas Aiken has recorded two fifth-place finishes in Spanish tournaments over the last month and is on a strong run ahead of the Andalucia Masters at Club de Golf Valderamma this week.

Aiken is 15th in the Race to Dubai, won the Open de Espana in May, and has not finished outside the top-10 in Spain this year, which makes him a serious contender for the €1,979,950 event.

Last week Aiken charged around Club de Campo del Mediterraneo in 63 strokes to close the Castello Masters at 14-under-par and secure fifth place for himself.

He has shown a strong run of form during the last four weeks. At the Bankia Madrid Masters in September he shot a solid third-round 67 before taking fifth place.

Aiken is clearly fond of Spain and his highlight of 2011 came when he won the Open de Espana. After four solid rounds he finished the tournament at 10-under-par, two strokes clear of Anders Hansen.

In May he tied for ninth at the Iberdrola Open and to date has finished in the top 10 at all of his Spanish events this year.

The 28-year-old has taken seven victories on the Sunshine Tour, and while they have not come this season, Aiken did take third at the Joburg Open in January.

He has since recorded seven top-10 finishes on the European Tour, including his victory in Spain in May, and currently holds 15th in the Race to Dubai.

Countrymen James Kingston, Keith Horne and George Coetzee all join the field competing in Sotogrande, Spain this week.

Kingston finishes tied 11th at the Portugal Masters a fortnight ago. During September he closed the KLM Open in a share of sixth and could rock the boat in Spain this week.

Coetzee has been on the up-and-up throughout his European campaign this year. Two weeks ago he took third at the Portugal Masters before taking a share of sixth at the Castello Masters last week.

The 25-year-old is still hunting a maiden win in Europe, but his results have announced him as one of a new generation of strong South African pros.

Keith Horne started the year with top-20 results at the Joburg Open and Qatar Masters, but slumped through the winter period and has been rebuilding his form recently.

Horne did, however, finish 12th at the Omega European Masters in September and has the ability to shoot low, but must maintain his form throughout the four rounds in order to succeed this week.

Aiken has a glittering record in Spain this year and could well add a final jewel to the set with an Andalucian victory.

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