Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour 2020: Portugal Masters

European Tour 2020: Portugal Masters

Last week provided a spectacle seldom seen in the modern era of straightaway golf. John Catlin won the Andalucia Masters with a score over par. It was a sight that approached the masochistic, with players routinely greeting birdies with the same zest as birdies.  This week’s event should provide the ultimate tonic. The Iberian Swing moves from Spain to Portugal for the 14th renewal of the Portugal Masters.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters 
Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
3rd-6th September

This is an event that was first staged in 2007, with Steve Webster winning the inaugural edition.  Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course has hosted every renewal of the Portugal Masters, making it the ideal event for a studious golfing scribe.

As I noted earlier, this will be the complete antithesis of last week’s sadistic challenge.  In actual fact, Oliver Fisher shot the first ever 59 on the European Tour during the 2018 edition of this event.  Designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 2004, Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course actually hosted the 2005 World Cup of Golf (Wales edged out Sweden to win that event). It is an exposed course with slightly larger than average Bentgrass greens. The fairways are generous and water is in play on seven holes.  The organizers attempted to give this resort course some added protection last year, with a more resilient variation of Bermuda grass used in the rough. It worked to a certain extent, with the winning score marginally down at -17. Look for accurate iron players who generally have decent proximity to the hole.

Tommy Fleetwood is a completely unexpected late entry into this week’s event. He is clearly looking to pick up some confidence ahead of next week’s US Open. The Englishman has been desperately short of form, despite momentarily contending at the US PGA Championship. I don’t see any value in him at 5/1 (he is yet to pick up his maiden US PGA Tour event). The effects of the US Open are seen throughout the field, with many of the recent contenders understandably choosing to eschew this week’s action. George Coetzee has a decent history around here while the likes of Ryan Fox and  Haotong Li have the capacity to demolish this layout.

Past Seven Winners at the Belfry
2019: Steven Brown (-17)
2018: Tom Lewis (-22)
2017: Lucas Bjerregaard (-20)
2016: Padraig Harrington (-23)
2015: Andy Sullivan (-23)

Betting Favourites (To Win): 
Tommy Fleetwood (5/1)
George Coetzee (18/1)
Ryan Fox (18/1)
Haotong Li (20/1)
Jorge Campillo (22/1) 

Value Bets

Sebastian Soderberg
To Win (60/1), To Place (13/1)

Sebastian Soderberg had a magnificent conclusion to the UK Swing, finishing in a tie for 5th and tie for 10th at Celtic Manor in consecutive weeks. Soderberg missed a cut at Valderrama (though I’m prepared to give him a pass on that beast). I’m willing to opt for Soderberg again this week (especially after he finished in a tie for 7th here in 2017). As I noted earlier, this will ultimately turn into a birdie-fest. Soderberg is a strong putter, currently sitting 23rd on tour for putts per round.  I think he represents great value this week in the aftermath of the Valderrama carnage.

Justin Walters
To Win (75/1), To Place (16/1)

75/1 seems about right for Walters on one level. He is still yet to taste victory on this stage.  But after yet another heart-breaking runner-up finish a few weeks ago, I think he may be ready to finally realise his dream. The word heart-breaking is very appropriate for Walters and this course. He has twice finished runner-up in this event. But more than that, both of those runner-up finishes were informed by tragedy. His mother had just passed prior to the 2013 event while last year came in the wake of his father’s death. He obviously plays well on this course and it carries significant emotional resonance for Walters. I think that makes him terrific value in the place markets, especially in the wake of his recent runner-up finish.

The Man to Beat

George Coetzee
To Win (18/1), To Place (39/10)

This will be the first post-lockdown, European Tour event for the affable South African. And it is no wonder when you look at his glorious course history. His Victoria record reads 3-6-21-31-7-20-14. Those finishes also have to be read in context: they were generally played in far more impressive fields than this one. The inclusion of Tommy Fleetwood at such a late stage has really improved the market for Coetzee, allowing the out-of-form Englishman to suck up all the oxygen.  Coetzee is a putting machine who is coming off a four-shot victory on the Sunshine Tour.  

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