Lowry To Lead The Way In Portugal
In form Shane Lowry heads the betting for the Portugal Masters which gets underway at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in the Algarve on Thursday…
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. This year’s renewal hasn’t attracted any of the PGA regulars from across the Atlantic, or any of the European Ryder Cup stars, but it does feature some battle-hardened European regulars and should be a competitive affair.
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
Francesco Molinari has managed a couple of seconds in this event, but they came in 2010 and 2009 and his recent visits to Portugal have been less successful. More importantly, he isn’t in any sort of form at the moment. A closing round of 65 in Wales suggested he was in good touch, but he blew his chances last week with an opening round 74 and at the moment, he’s not one to rely on.
Shane Lowry missed the cut in Portugal last year, but we can expect a different outcome this year. The Irishman heads south after a solid sixth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, his fourth top ten finish in seven outings and in his current form is an excellent bet to regain a title he won in 2012. He’s the deserved antepost favourite and should be backed at odds of 14/1.
This time last year, Tommy Fleetwood hit a purple patch that brought him his first European Tour win and in his current form, a second trophy can’t be far away. After an eye-catching performance in Switzerland at the Omega Masters, he followed up with consecutive second-placed finishes, at the Wales Open and at St Andrews last week. He’s a young player with a lot of potential and he represents a solid betting proposition this week at 16/1.
And at the same odds, Bernd Wiesberger is worth a look. After finishing runner-up at the Lyoness Open back in June, he has been a bit hit and miss, but after missing the cut at the Czech Masters, he bounced back with a top ten finish at the Italian Open and has played some solid golf in making the top fifteen in his last three outings. His last two visits to Portugal have both produced top five finishes and he’s a good bet to land his first European Tour win since 2012.