The Portugal Masters is the last official event of the regular European Tour season, so there is a lot at stake for the players fighting to keep their cards. Recent years have produced some late drama with some players performing miracles as they avoid another trip back to Q-School. The tournament has also suffered terribly with the weather – 2 years ago Alex Levy won having just played 36 holes (he was 18 under, mind!).
One thing is for sure though, scoring is going to be insanely good. Abdy Sullivan won by a distance on 23 under last year and there have been 2 occasions in the last 3 years when the magical 59 mark was oh so nearly achieved. The first by Scott Jamieson who lipped out with his chip 3 years ago and then Nicolas lipped out from 18 feet a couple of years ago. If 59 is going to happen then this is the place.
Fortunately the weather looks set fair for the week, so perhaps the course might not be so receptive as the last couple of years, but having come off the back of a few low scoring weeks, the players should all be in the mood. Wouldn’t it be a good send-off for the man responsible for the course, if we saw the Tours first 59 for Arnie?
Nicolas Colsaerts 25/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £332.50
As mentioned above, the big Belgian has some good memories around this layout and is starting to run pretty hot of late. Most of the attention appears to be focussed on his fellow Belgian, Thomas Pieters, but there is plenty of reason to fancy Colsaerts. He’s not just a big hitter, and has proven n recent weeks that he can hit plenty of greens and of course make those all-important birdies.
Peter Hanson 25/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £332.50
In all honesty, the sweet swinging Swede had very much disappeared from our consciousness until last week’s strong performance at The Grove. Yes, he did stumble a little in the final round, but he looks to be swinging well again and is showing signs of life. Another decent week will see him break into the top 60 and ensure him an end of season payout in Dubai.
Renato Paratore 60/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £770
Few but the very geekiest of European Tour fans will know much about this 19 year old Italian. As you may well assume from his odds, he’s no mug! Just sitting inside the R2D top 60, Paratore comes off a couple of strong weeks in the UK and might argue to be Italy’s best player right now. This tournament has thrown up a few “out-there” winners in recent years and it would be no great surprise if he were another to claim his first title in Portugal.
Joakim Lagergren 66/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £845
The lad is a birdie machine. He’s also made a bit of money recently! It would have been understandable if he had missed the cut last week after shooting a first round 75 (that after coming 4th in The Dunhill) but he came back incredibly to finish inside the Top 20 to shove himself right up the order of merit. He may well have crumbled like a Rich Tea biscuit at St Andrews (and hit one of the worst shots I’ve seen a pro hit on the 17th) but he looks to be a fast learner and doesn’t mind going bananas.
Marcel Siem 70/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £447.50
The moody German has had a tough season that has recently been halted by a shoulder injury. After a couple of months out and a reunion with his old coach he appears to be hitting his straps again as his 11th place finish last week goes to prove. He has tended to have some particularly hot streaks throughout his career and this will hopefully be another one. If it’s not, then at least it’s entertaining to see him absolutely lose it!
Scott Jamieson 80/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £510
The man who so nearly shot 59 here 3 years ago, could just as easily be playing his last European Tour event this week had it not been for these past few weeks. He’s managed to earn 60% of his entire season earnings in this period and had he not chopped it last weekend, would be home and hosed for next season. He will however need to keep his eye on the ball to guarantee his tour status, but should he make the weekend he’ll no doubt be pretty relaxed and judging by recent form he could be pretty useful.