The European Tour is on the Algarve this week for the Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria Club in Vilamoura. England’s David Lynn is the defending champion.

Lowdown:
The European Tour is on the Algarve this week for the Portugal Masters at the Oceânico Victoria Club in Vilamoura. England’s David Lynn is the defending champion.

A strong field has assembled for this event with an astonishing 74 European Tour winners teeing it up in Vilamoura. Among them are Major Champions Padraig Harrington, Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke.

This will be the eighth hosting of the Portugal Masters and the list of winners to this point is impressive. Steve Webster took the inaugural title in 2007 and Alvaro Quiros, Lee Westwood, Richard Green, Tom Lewis, Shane Lowry and David Lynn have been victorious since then.

Last year, Lynn produced an incredible closing round of 63 to sneak home one stroke ahead of Justin Walters of South Africa. By holing a monster putt across the final green, Walters secured solo second place and his playing privileges for 2014. It was an emotional moment for Walters, as his mother had died just two weeks earlier.

The Victoria in Vilamoura is part of Oceânico’s impressive portfolio of courses. 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.

The weather forecast for Vilamoura towards the end of the week looks decidedly unsettled with the potential for thunderstorms Thursday to Saturday. Don’t be surprised to see at least one rain delay.

Venue: Oceânico Victoria Club, Vilamoura, Portugal
Date: Oct 9-12
Course stats: par 71, 7,209 yards
Purse: €2,000,000 Winner: €333,330
Defending Champion: David Lynn (-18)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am
Friday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am
Saturday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 1pm
Sunday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 1.30pm

Player Watch:
Chris Wood – The Englishman played solidly last week in the Dunhill Links Championship to finish in a tie for 9th. He’s played well in this event before: Back in 2008 he closed with rounds of 68 and 65 to post a top-10.

Alexander Levy – The Frenchman produced three excellent rounds in the Dunhill before fading with a poor closing 75. If he can put four good ones together this week, he could be a contender.

Chris Doak – He played brilliantly in the Dunhill to finish alone in fifth. He was tied eighth in this event last year.

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.