European Tour: Portugal Masters

Golfer admires shot with wood in hand

We take a look at the Portugal Masters set to get underway on Thursday 21 September at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course. 

Since the inaugural Portugal Masters was staged in 2007, an event won by Steve Webster, an Englishman has won every alternate year. I don’t know why I really started with that factoid- it just seemed kind of crazy.

In any event, the European Tour organizers will at least be pleased by the fact that the FedEx Cup is coming to an end, which should lead to more enticing fields in the upcoming weeks. The tour has struggled for relevancy of late, not really assisted by the fact that there have been a number of obscure victors in recent weeks- look at Romain Wattel last week for instance.

Portugal Masters | 21 - 24 September | Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Portugal

The Arnold Palmer designed Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course was opened in 2004 and has staged every single renewal of this event. An exposed course with water in play on seven holes, the undulating bentgrass greens are large and the rough is very minimal. This is a resort course and has provided some absolutely ludicrous scoring in the last few seasons. There has been little weather around, meaning whatever rough there is will be further minimized. There is also little wind predicted, which means that we could see a player flirt with becoming the owner of the first ever 59 on the European Tour.

Defending champion Padraig Harrington is in the mix this year, as are the likes of Andy Sullivan and Shane Lowry. The most illustrious competitor will be Ryder Cup breakthrough star Thomas Pieters- while the Russell Knox and David Lingmerth grace the event after their seasons in America have ended prematurely. So we should expect a right old shoot-out here with the last two winning totals adding up to an accumulated score of 47-under par.

Past Winners
2016: Padraig Harrington (-24)
2015: Andy Sullivan (-23)
2014: Alex Levy (-18) - 36 holes
2013: David Lynn (-18)
2012: Shane Lowry (-14)

To Win Outright: Thomas Pieters 12/1, Andy Sullivan 16/1, Shane Lowry 16/1, Thorbjorn Olesen 18/1, Ryan Fox 25/1

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Value Bets

David Lingmerth- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)
As I said earlier, Lingmerth is one of a handful of players to join proceedings after failing to qualify for that final week in Atlanta. The Swede has excellent putting statistics on the PGA Tour: he ranks 17th for strokes gained putting and 4th in putts for round. That means that he should be able to capitalize on the bountiful birdie opportunities that await. He hasn’t had a strong finish since a T5th at the Quicken Loans, but he has made 3 out of his last 4 cuts on the PGA Tour. Considering the drop in quality, he will feel confident of a strong showing here.

Nicolas Colsearts- To Win (80/1), To Place (17/1)
The huge hitting Belgian has enjoyed an extremely frustrating season and will be looking forward to the low-scoring comforts offered by this receptive course. In fact, en route to his runner-up finish here in 2014, Colsearts shot a 1st Round 60. Either side of that runner-up finish in 2014 he managed to pick up top 20 finishes here. The less then punishing rough doesn’t prove as punitive for the Belgian bludger. Added to all this was that incredible T3 at the prestigious BMW PGA- a result that saw him rocket 50 spots up the world rankings.

Austin Connelly- To Win (90/1), To Place (19/1) 
The young Canadian was the runner-up last week, and would have won were it not for one bad shot on the 11th. He enjoyed his 21st birthday on Monday and caused a sensation with that awesome performance at Birkdale earlier this year. He finished 14th at the Open Championship and was in wonderful form on Sunday. He ranked 1st for driving accuracy for the week and 2nd in Greens in Regulation. He also ranked 8th in scrambling. So it seems as if the young Canadian is primed for a stellar career, and I couldn’t resist him at this price.

Man to Beat- George Coetzee- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)
Coetzee took time away from game in the summer to freshen up and get himself in better physical condition. He lost 15 kg’s before making his comeback a few weeks back at the European Masters. He missed the cut there but then managed a T3 finish at the KLM Open, hoping that may catapult him towards a strong tour finish. He also has excellent course form, with only one round over 70 in 14 attempts. This could prove to be a pivotal time in the career of a man hoping to join the likes of compatriots Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace in upper echelons of the golfing strata.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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