Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Portugal Masters 2013 - Oceanico Victoria, Vilamoura

Ireland's Shane Lowry defends the Portugal Masters this week at the Oceanico Victoria GC in Vilamoura following his first win on tour as a professional 12 months ago. A quality field tees it up on Thursday as players seek to either fine tune their game ahead of the inaugural "Final Series" or seek a top 60 on the Race to Dubai. Others are still trying to secure cards for next year.
 Its just this and next week, in Perth, that players have the opportunity to accomplish their goals, whether thats a win for the season, R2D-TOP60 or securing that card by finishing in the top 110. Ireland's Peter Lawrie finds himself just outside that elusive 110 spot so really needs a good week here. England's Chris Paisley is currently 119th and took to twitter during the week to see if anyone who had a card secured would withdraw so he could play as he was 3rd reserve. As of yesterday he was first reserve....he needs to play this week to give himself a chance of a card next year. Its a crucial week for many. But interesting enough are the notables just outside the R2D TOP 60.These are Dyson, Fisher, Havret, Harrington, Pepperell,Willet, Ramsay and McGrane (who has made a great effort the past few weeks to rise in the rankings). So with Francesco Molinari & Martin Kaymer heading the market, there will be a lot of determined golfers in the Algarve trying to achieve differnt results and there is one player just outside that TOP 60 that I am leaning towards at a big price this week who just may put in a great performance.



My first selection this week though is former winner, Tom Lewis who came charging on the final day at St Andrews at the Dunhill Links Championship to tie with Shane Lowry, with a shot too many to make the play-off. He has been playing fantastic golf lately. He’s 90th in the R2D standings so will need to put in a strong effort this week and he will arrive in Vilamoura with great memories of his win here in 2011 but he will be relaxed knowing he will keep his card for next season. The recent form is partly due to his working with Dave Alred, the top quality sports performance coach. The Englishman had a slow start here in 2011 when winning the title, but recent outings have seen him get off the mark with decent opening rounds and if he does that again this Thursday he may just contend. I tweeted yesterday I was backing Lewis @ 66/1, that price has gone now but 50/1 is still OK.

My 2nd selection is once again, Thomas Aiken, who appears to be still over-priced @ 100/1 to me. But thats just it with the mercurial South African. He could shoot the lights out or he could be having the weekend off. He took some time off during the summer but has had 3 tournaments under his belt since and he could be warming up nicely. Course suits Aiken as his 3 TOP 30s here the past 3 years indicate. He has won on tour already this season (Avantha Masters) so hopefully he can finish the season off with some really good performances over the next 6 weeks or so. I do tend to look at Aiken's chances at these type of tournaments quite regularly and I simply cannot ignore the 100/1 this time round again.

My third & fourth picks are players hoping to have the good week that will see them achieve their goal for the season and that's Eddie Pepperell and Scott Jamieson. The latter has won on tour this year, the Nelson Mandela Championship, but went off the boil during the summer months. He has shown signs lately that his game is coming back and with 2 TOP 25s in his last 2 starts, the Scotsman will be hoping to continue that form here at Victoria where he finished 12th last year. 
Scott can be backed at 110/1 with Bet365

England's, Eddie Pepperell is a player I knew nothing about at the start of the season but is one that I've been keeping an eye on during the season. At 22, he is just finding his way on tour and will be at ease knowing he has a card for next season. He's made 13/22 cuts and amassed €350,000 in his rookie year. Thats quite an achievement and whilst I do believe he considers it to be a successful debut season, I'm sure he'll be happier if he could make TOP60. Lying 72nd, a good week here could see him climb. I read his post on his blog yesterday where he says that he has a number of his Dad's friends out in the Algarve this week. Eddie says he is learning how to"ride the rookie rapids" of the season but he stills feel a little "uncomfortable" with where he is at in his personal life. He's making money on tour and he understands that that is success in his first season. He wants to remain who he believes who he is, and with good friends and family around him this week, he might just feel a little more relaxed and make the 200/1 price seem silly. There is potential in this player and I'm happy to take a chance at such a big price this week.

TIP 1 : 1 pt e/w T.Lewis @ 66/1  

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w T.Aiken @ 100/1 Paddypower

TIP 3: 0.5 pts e/w S.Jamieson @ 110/ 1Bet365

TIP 4: 0.5 pts e/w E.Pepperell @ 200/1 Sportingbet