The Portugal Masters has been held on the Victoria course since 2007 with Steve Webster winning its inaugural event. Spain’s Alvaro Quiros shot a final round of 68 to win the 2008 title by three shots ahead of Scotland’s Paul Lawrie. Lee Westwood and Richard Green lifted the title in 2009 and 2010 and 20-year-old Tom Lewis, won the 2011 Portugal Masters. Lewis birdied five of the last seven holes to claim his maiden title in only his third professional start. Shane Lowry is the current champion and will be defending his title this week.
Designed by Arnold Palmer the Oceanico Victoria Course is a beautifully manicured track that weighs in at 7,227-yards. The club is situated in the Golf-Mekka Vilamoura area. The terrain is flat but don’t let that put you off its a breathtaking design. Each hole has 5 teeing options and the course features are the many lakes and waterfalls as well as the strategically placed bunkers.
My tips to win:
I am sticking with a couple of players this week and first up is Shane Lowry 16/1 with StanJames, and although he didnít quite challenge come the last round of the Alfred Dunhill links Championship, it was Shaneís second Top 10 finish in his last two events, and his forth in his last seven tournaments. He is also teeing up on a course that he won on only two years ago - great memories and great form, so I think we will certainly see Lowry in one of the final pairings come Sunday afternoon.
Another player I am going to stick with, and again comes into this week in great form is Tommy Fleetwood 18/1 with StanJames, who not only had his second consecutive runners-up finish at the Alfred Dunhill links Championship, but it was also his forth Top 5 finish from his last six starts that has seen him win well over half a million Euros in that time. Tommy has never really done well on this track but I think that may change this week.
Bernd Wiesberger 18/1 with BetVictor had a rapid move up the leaderboard in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship firing rounds of 67 and 68 that saw him move into the Top 15, his fifth Top 15 finish in his last six tournaments. The Austrian has had two runners-up placings this year and has not quite been able to just get over the line, but with two Top 5 finishes here in the last two years, I think we may well see him take that final step this week.
My each-way tips:
Richie Ramsay 33/1 with BetFred is another player who comes into this week in great form and who has four Top 10 finishes from his last five tournaments played. Richie has never been a lover of this course, his best finish being forty-first while firing his best round on this track, a 68 back in 2010. He has obviously matured as a player since then and I think given his current form he will do well here this week.
I am not sure yet as the betting odds are not in yet if Robert-Jan Derksen 80/1 with BetVictor will be an each-way or outside bet, but the next two tips are both nostalgic and emotional bets, something I normally recommend you steer clear of!! Robert had a great Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and he would have loved to have won at the Home of golf before he retires at the end of the year. Itís been a long time since Derksen won his last tour event back in 2005 and I think if he is to pull it off before he waves goodbye to the European Tour then it will be on a track that he enjoys playing. The Oceanico Victoria course is that track, Derksen has teed it up here every year since its inception back in 2007 and has only been outside the Top 20 once, could it just beÖ
My Outside tip:
I must admit I have always believed in being guided, and when Justin Walters 300/1 with PaddyPower broke down crying after he holed that 40-foot putt last year to claim the runners-up spot and secure his European Tour card two weeks after his mothers death, like him I thought there was something in that. He comes into this week in the same position needing to secure his playing card. Justin has recently become a father and not only will it be an emotional week for the South African, donít be surprised if he pulls it off again.
As always good luck