Tremendous Field Prepares to Compete at Portugal Masters
Two former champions of the Portugal Masters - Andy Sullivan and Steven Brown - will be present for this year’s tournament, as the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course prepares to host the event for the 15th edition.
There are further former champions too, with George Coetzee - last year’s winner - Lucas Bjerregaard and Alex Levy.
In addition to previous victors, there are future stars in Robert MacIntyre, Nicolai Hojgaard and Sam Horsfield all scheduled to tee it up in the Portuguese sun.
Englishman Brown will be returning to Dom Pedro with the hopes of emulating the success of his 2019 triumph.
He entered the week ranked at 150th in the Race to Dubai standings and a top-three finish was needed if he was to retain his European Tour card.
After rounds of 69, 67, and 65 propelled him into contention, a blemish-free 66 completed what would have been an incredibly stressful week as he secured European Tour status for at least two additional years.
“All the players enjoy coming to the Algarve and playing the Portugal Masters. It is a very important week in my schedule, and I’ll be looking to win here again,” said the 2019 champion.
He added: “I know I can do it; all I need to do is go out and play well. If you are able to hit shots with accuracy and putt well it will put you in a good position on the leaderboard.
“The last four holes on the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course are some of the best on tour and a great stretch of holes to finish. It often creates a lot of drama, and anything can happen over the last four holes.”
Sullivan, a four-time European Tour champion, returns to Portugal hoping to mirror his record-breaking nine-shot victory that took place in 2015.
This is evidently a tournament that the Englishman enjoys participating in, having produced three top 10 finishes in his last four appearances at the wonderful Dom Pedro Golf Course.
He’ll be looking to maintain this splendid run, as he has one eye on his Race to Dubai standing and knows the importance of improving his seasonal ranking.
“I’ve got so many great memories of Portugal and the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course,” he said. “I like to play attacking golf and the Victoria provides lots of birdie opportunities to shoot a low score.
“The closing few holes are always very important and this is especially true at Dom Pedro as the Victoria has four great holes to finish, especially the 18th where there is water located everywhere.”
Despite his incredible run in Portugal, Sullivan understands just how difficult it is to win a golf tournament and the importance of not expecting a strong finish.
“I’m not putting any expectations on myself during the tournament, what will be will be.”
After the inaugural Portugal Masters took place in 2007, the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course will be hosting the tournament for the 15th consecutive year.
The course is expected to play increasingly more difficult this year after an extensive and expensive upgrade was carried out in 2019 that saw €4.5m invested into the five championship courses in Vilamoura.
Previously, renovation work that took place focused on the implementation of more resilient Common Bermuda grass to the rough and green surroundings, as well as the planting of intelligently placed trees.
These trees have been planted across three holes on the front nine to prevent the longer hitters from cutting the corners of the doglegs on the 2nd, 5th and 10th holes.
Providing expert insight into how the course will play this year, Rui Grave, Head Greenkeeper at Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection, noted the plan to make low scoring less prevalent.
“We are hoping to provide players with the perfect challenge at this year’s tournament.”
He added: “Although there is a plan to make scoring slightly more difficult, there will also be plenty of opportunities for players to make birdies and shoot low scores if they are able to position their balls in the right positions throughout their rounds.”
Arnold Palmer is the influential figure who is responsible for the marvellous design of the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, and the layout measures 7,273 yards while also being renowned as one of the stiffer tests in the Algarve.
The par-72 championship course is situated across 90 hectares and the awe-inspiring layout weaves integrates natural wetlands with undulating fairways and tricky greens to provide a stern test for Europe’s best.
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