Portugal is the destination for the latest instalment of the European Tour and to a Robert Trent Jones Jnr course which last hosted this event back in 1995. With the world's elite either taking a rest ahead of the US Open or playing in Memphis, it's once again time for the second-string to battle it out.
The course is an undulating, tree-lined affair set in the Sintra mountains at an elevated level, meaning wind can be a factor - indeed Thursday to Saturday look like being particularly windy (up to 30mph at times, wind picks up later afternoon generally) before a bit of respite on Sunday. Slowish (10 on the stimp) poa/bent grass greens should allow for good scoring if you can navigate safely to the green and avoid the woods, numerous fairway bunkers and the odd water hazard. At 6,904 yards and a par 72, this is more of a thinking-man's course than a bomber's paradise so I'm putting more premium on accuracy and GIR this week, combined with some solid form both recently and in Portugal historically.
Don't forget that the predictor stats for last year relate to a different course, although playing well in the same vicinity may well hold some credence.
I'm backing the predictor 100% this week. My picks:
Jamie Donaldson 1pt EW 20/1 with Stan James. PLEASE NOTE - Donaldson has now pulled out of this event. Stakes amended on final 4 selections to maintain 10 points in total.
Welshman Donaldson was disappointed with his result at Celtic Manor finishing in a tie for 46th despite a solid final round 68 - without the pressure of being a local this week I'm expecting him to bounce back to his previous form. 5 top 10s in his previous 6 starts was excellent - and the tie for 34th at Wentworth in between times wasn't too shabby either. Had an excellent chance to win this tournament last year when a final round 72 let him down - a 69 would have sufficed - can go a step further this week in my opinion. In a week field, 20/1 is still good value.
Rock's tie for 4th in Wales was his 3rd top-5 finish of an ever improving season and you can expect to see him feature on the leaderboard again this week. In a tournament where there are few recognised 'big' players it always prudent to pick a form horse and Rock is exactly that.
The big Scot has been on the fringes of finding some good form in recent weeks - indeed a decent finish on Sunday last week could have seen him record a top 20 finish and his best result of the season - instead a 5-5-5 finish and T46 paints a very different picture. Not to worry, the signs are more positive and his record in Portugal is exemplary, hence his high predictor position - form of 7/2/7/12/19 in this event in the last 5 years are promising enough to include him in the staking plan. Worth noting that 888.com's World Cup campaign offers a risk-free £20 bet so you can take this selection (or any other for that matter!) without fear of losing - see the banner details to the right, an absolute no-brainer!!
The price on Bourdy is a little skinny for my liking, however is a fair reflection of his chances relative to the field. Strong tee-too-green is a positive this week, as is a win in the 2008 event and a 7th last year. Has been cropping up on and around leaderboards for the last 2 months without really pushing the leaders - this could be his week in a shallow field.
It's not very often that I pump all the variables into the predictor and get presented with a 150/1 shot, however on closer inspection this could be a season-maker! Broadhurst's price is largely down to his current form - his 41st at Wentworth is his only cut made in his last 6 so you could be excused for writing him off....wait a second before you do though! The man from Walsall absolutely LOVES playing Portugal - his tie for 4th in this event last year also come off the back of 1 cut made in 5 starts and he won this event in 2005 & 2006. Also one of the very few to have played on this course in 1995 when he finished T17. At 150/1 you can never be sure but he's currently trading as low as 52/1 on the exchanges, at 150/1 he's just got to be worth a few quid!
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 14:00BST 8.6.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation
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