Back to the Algarve for the 4th consecutive year and to the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course which you'll have seen many times advertised all over Sky's coverage. With a calm, sunny weekend forecast after an overcast two days to start, the players will certainly feel a little happier after the wind and rain of the last couple of weeks in the UK.
The course itself suits longer, more aggressive players who can handle the fast (by European standards), undulating bentgrass greens. The Arnold Palmer design is pretty flat and exposed with water in play on 7 holes and numerous fairway bunkers to contend with, however it's not overly difficult by today's standards and a score of 20 under par or better is likely to be required to be in with a sniff come Sunday night.
The 3 previous winners - Webster, Quiros and Westwood - had all won Tournaments in their career before winning this event, plus they had recorded 3 or more top 10s that season, including at least 1 in their previous 5 starts. One interesting fact is that each of them also recorded a top 10 at Loch Lomond earlier that season - the parallels between courses are pretty clear to me and as such my first 3 selections all finished top 10 this year also.
My outright tips are below; for my top 20 tips for this event click here: Portugal Masters Double Your Money
Ryder Cup hero Fisher will come here full of confidence knowing that his game is in tip-top condition and the course will suit him down to the ground. The bookies are no mugs and have made him favourite for this, hence my 'win only' selection here given that each way holds little value.
Fisher has finished in the top 14 in his last 3 tournaments, backing up a fine run of form stemming from his 2nd place finish in Munich and encapsulating his impressive victory in Ireland. In this event, Fisher has had a couple of prominent appearance - finishing 3rd in 2008 and 7th in 2007 - before missing the cut last year. His length and aggressive style will set him in good stead here and with a positive week on the greens he'll prove very hard to beat.
I've placed this win only bet with Extrabet not only because they are best priced, but they'll effectively double the odds of your first bet up to a stake of £25 when you open an account as a truly matched bet (ie they place the same bet as you), plus you get a further £75 of similar bets in the future. For more information click here RESULT: T27
28/1 about Edoardo to win this is unmissable and won't be around for long so grab it now! On a course where undulating, fast bentgrass greens are the order of the day, the fact that Edoardo is the longer price of the 2 Molinaris is a mystery to me. OK, he looked tired in Scotland following his exertions at Celtic Manor - that's to be expected as he put so much physical and mental effort into his performance the week before. In fact he could barely speak prior to the start of the Alfred Dunhill such was the pressure he'd put on his vocal chords in Wales! However a few days off will have done him some good and I suspect we'll see him bounce back in style this week.
In the Italian's last 7 strokeplay events he's won twice, plus has a 2nd and 3rd place finish to add to that. Quite capable of shooting the kind of score required to win here, as his 18 under total at Crans proved, plus with Westwood out of action he has a good chance to go 3rd in the Race To Dubai with a positive finish here. RESULT: T52
Swede Edfors is finding form just at the right time and knows that just one more good finish should see him on the plane to Dubai in a few weeks time. 11th last week in Scotland was impressive following his narrow defeat to John Parry in Paris the week before; Edfors is one of those players who can maintain his form once it's been found (he won 3 times in 11 tournaments in 2005) so this is potentially a good time to back him once again. 6th here last year and playing well enough to go a few places better this week. RESULT: T41
It was a toss-up between two Frenchman for my final selection and the perennially bearded Raphael Jacquelin narrowly missed out this time. Compatriot Bourdy has won in each of his last 3 seasons, twice around this time of the year and the other in Estoril earlier in the season, so if he's going to continue that trend he needs to step up to the plate sooner rather than later.
18 consecutive made cuts is impressive; 4 top 10s in that period with a highest finish of 6th means that 66/1 is a fair reflection of his chances here, however if you dig a bit deeper you'll see some prominent form in the Algarve. His opening round of 65 in 2007 was enough for a share of the first round lead, however he drifted afterwards - only to win his maiden European Tour event the following week; A final round 71 the following year left him in 7th position following 3 good rounds in the 60s. Despite missing the cut last year, he still went on to win his 3rd tournament on Tour 2 starts later. Don't be surprised to see Bourdy in the mix. RESULT: T22
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 20:45BST 12/10/10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
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