In-Form Fleetwood Fancied In Portugal
The Portugal Masters is one of the newer events on the European Tour, inaugurated in 2007 and boasting a healthy prize fund of three million Euros, putting it in the top bracket of European tournaments.
It hasn’t attracted any of the PGA regulars from across the Atlantic, but the field this year looks pretty competitive, featuring four Major champions and some battle-hardened European regulars.
Designed by Arnold Palmer, the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course is exposed to the elements, and at this time of year, high winds are likely to be the main meteorological hazard. The course is mainly flat, with a profusion of fairway bunkers offering the only test from the tee, but the key to this venue is putting. The greens are fast and undulating, and will punish any miscalculation.
In The Bunker
Double Major winner Martin Kaymer tops the antepost betting this week, but he’s been hard to read this season. He finished second at the Open d’Italia at the end of September, but before that was outside the top fifty at the KLM Open and flopped at St Andrews in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. At 11/1 he isn’t one to rely on and there’s better value to be had elsewhere in the field.
Tommy Fleetwood has yet to add to his first European Tour win, and was struggling for form before St Andrews. His last two outings were more promising, particularly at the British Masters, where he improved in every round to finish thirteenth.
Last year he shot a second round 65 in Portugal in the weather-shortened event and in his current form can improve this time round. Back him at 16/1.
Like Fleetwood, Alexander Levy had been on a run of poor form and going into the British Masters, had four consecutive finishes outside the top fifty, but he improved at Woburn, opening up with a 67, and given his spectacular performance in this event last year, he has to be on your shortlist. He shot a 61 and a 63 to win the shortened tournament by three strokes and at 33/1 he looks a good bet to retain his title.
Ross Fisher has had a couple of disappointing tournaments, finishing way down the field at St Andrews and missing the cut at the British Masters last week. But prior to that effort, he had finished fifth at the European Open, a performance that came out of nowhere, and given his record in this event, it is worth overlooking his recent form. Fisher has twice made the top ten at the Oceanico Victoria course in the last three visits, finishing runner-up in 2012 and at 33/1 he offers a touch of value this week.