The European Tour remains on the Iberian peninsula this week for the Estoril Open de Portugal. Defending champion Gregory Bourdy will be joined by a host of top names at Oitavos Dunes in Cascais near Lisbon.
Last year Bourdy won the title at Oitavos Dunes after a playoff against David Howell and Alastair Forsyth. The Frenchman secured victory on the third extra hole.
This will be the 53rd running of the Portuguese Open and a number of past champions will be in the field. Bourdy will be joined by Paul Broadhurst, Phillip Price, Gary Orr and Michael Jonzon. Young amateur Dale Whitnell is on the start sheet following his victory in the Portuguese Amateur Championship.
Designed by Arthur Hills, the course at Oitavos Dunes is a relative youngster. It only opened for play in 2001. It’s links-like in style and is marked by the large sand dunes surrounding most holes. It’s a club that’s conscious of maintaining an environmentally friendly approach to maintenance. This is evidenced by the fact it was the first course in Europe to receive a gold Seal Audubon International award.
Venue: Oitavos Dunes, Cascais, Portugal
Date: April 2-5
Course stats: par 71, 6,893 yards
Purse: €1,250,000 Winner: €210,000
Defending champion: Gregory Bourdy (-18)
Thursday 2nd – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12pm
Friday 3rd – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12pm
Saturday 4th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Sunday 5th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Gonzalo Fernandez Castano – The Spaniard was fifth here last year and is beginning to show the sort of form that has won him four European Tour titles.
Alastair Forsyth – The Scot lost in a playoff to Gregory Bourdy last year so the course clearly suits his game. He finished in fifth place at last week’s Open de Andalucia so is obviously playing well.
Anders Hansen – He already has a victory to his name on tour this season, the Dane is a proven winner. If he’s on his game expect him to be there or thereabouts.
Key hole: 14th. A stunning par-3 of 167 yards, a huge dune flanks the right hand side of the green. Long is better than short of the testing putting surface. Don’t expect to see too many twos here as the leaders come down the stretch.
Skills required: Shot-making. The course is links-like in style and it demands creative approach play and short-game. It’s relatively short by modern standards and there are plenty of birdie chances. With a decent weather forecast this week, expect a winning score of close to -20.