The European Tour is on the Algarve this week for the Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria course in Vilamoura. Defending champion Lee Westwood has withdrawn through injury though a strong field has assembled.
This is the fourth time the Portugal Masters has been contested on the European Tour and the event will feature four members of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team. The Molinari brothers, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ross Fisher will tee it up in Vilamoura.
Speaking at last week’s Dunhill Links Championship, Fisher is hoping for a good showing on the Algarve to improve his position on the Race to Dubai, he’s currently 13th.
“My attention has switched back to The Race to Dubai now, definitely,” he said. “I finished fourth last year and it would be disappointing not to finish better than that this season. I’ve obviously got a bit of work to do in order to achieve that but I’ve got some big tournaments coming up so it’s not over yet.”
The Victoria is one of Oceânico’s five courses in Vilamoura. Opened for play in 2000, it was designed by Arnold Palmer. It’s an American-style track with generous fairways and large, rolling greens. In 2005 the course hosted the World Cup, won by Wales
Venue: Oceânico Victoria course, Vilamoura
Date: Oct 14-17
Course stats: par 72, 7,231 yards
Purse: €3,000,000 Winner: €500,000
Defending Champion: Lee Westwood (-23)
Thursday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30am
Friday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30am
Saturday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Sunday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Edoardo Molinari – The top ranked player in the field this week, Molinari has moved his game to a new level this year. The Italian seems to feature in every tournament he enters at the moment.
Alvaro Quiros – A former winner of this event, Quiros showed signs of good form in last week’s Dunhill Links Championship, finishing 5th. With his length he could take this course apart if he fires on all cylinders.
David Howell – GM’s playing editor had a good finish in St Andrews and seems to be slowly working his way back towards being competitive. He could just spring a surprise this week.
Key hole: 18th. At 463 yards this is a fabulous finishing hole. Water waits all the way up the left side from the tee and it continues to play a part in the approach. Anything coming up short or straying left will end up wet. A par here is a tough ask, particularly if you have a one-shot lead on Sunday afternoon.
Skills required: Putting. Lee Westwood won last year with a total of 23-under-par and there were 44 players who finished 10-under of better. The top players won’t find the course overly taxing so it’s on the greens where this tournament will be decided.