Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Portugal Masters 2016

We have a fairly decent field heading to the last Europeantour event to be played on European soil until well into 2017 this week. Alex Noren will go chasing his fourth title of the season having won again last week in London and he will face strong challengers from Ryder Cup stars, Thomas Pieters and Andy Sullivan,who will be defending his maiden title. Its another chance for those hovering around the 60 & 110 places on the R2D table to gain spots into the Series Finale and probably more importantly the coveted 110 placing required to secure playing privileges for 2017. Perhaps this is the week that Eddie Pepperell can regain his game and push on to secure his card for next season as he sits agonizingly in 111th place just €126 behind Craig Lee. I'm also hoping that Peter Hanson can continue good form of late and push on to make the TOP60 as he currently sits 63rd some €10,000 behind Renato Paratore in 60th spot.

The Course: 

The par-72 measures just 7200 yards and plays generously off the tee. It will be a low scoring affair this week and those that hit greens and make fewest putts will prevail. History has shown that Driving Distance is not key but a long straight hitter should excel. Wind is normally a factor here and interrupted play is par for the course especially at this time of the year.

The Shortlist & Selections:

Given the form of the market leaders this week, it may just be the week not to be getting stuck in on the outsiders. I've been a fan of Alex Noren for some years now and I'm thrilled to see him winning tournaments now that the nasty wrist injury he endured seems to have been sorted. It will be an interesting week to see how he fares and how the challenge of Pieters will evolve. Tommy Fleetwood is finishing the season strongly and he is overdue for a win and he should find the Vilamoura course and conditions to his liking. In his past three visits he has yielded 22-12-26 finishes. Englishman have done well here over the years and if Tommy isn't to prevail this week, there's no denying that David Horsey is in solid form too. His last five starts have yielded results of 12-11-49-5-4 and sits 55th in the R2D. Form here though on previous efforts isn't great so the price represents no value to me but @ 2.88 for a TOP20 he is a play.

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The blog put up Thomas Aiken last week and Peter Hanson at the Alfred Dunhill the week before and I'm happy to side with them again for this. Aiken has proven to like wind, and is quite strong in the GIR department....if he can only hole a few putts he'd be winning more, but he's more than capable. He has an early tee time Thursday starting at the 10th and I feel the early starters this week might have an advantage.He also plays alongside fellow Sunshine Tour player, Trevor Fisher, which is a plus. Peter Hanson tees off in the group behind Aiken, alongside YE Yang and Jorge Campillo (who just missed out on my 10-man shortlist). The Swede, like Noren, is returning from injury this season and is finding some form of late having finished 4th last week at The British Masters too. He has solid course form here too, but visits for the first time since 2011 when he finished TOP15. He posted 2 TOP5s in his three other starts. At 44.00 & 36.00 available for both they just about hold value.

1.00 pts T.Aiken @ 44.00
1.00 pts P.Hanson @ 36.00
4.00 pts TOP20 P.Hanson @ 2.50