Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal. Designer: Arnold Palmer, 2004; Course Type: Resort; Par: 71; Length: 7,191 yards; Fairways: Bermuda; Rough: Bermuda; Greens: L93 Bentgrass/Poa; Stimp: 10.5ft.
Course Overview. The Victoria course tends to be set up to suit the more aggressive players who can handle the fast, undulating Bent/Poa greens, however a premium still remains on finding the vast majority of greens in regulation to be in position to make a decent enough score to contend on Sunday afternoon.
The slightly extended 7,191 yard, par 71 Arnold Palmer design is pretty flat and exposed with water in play on 7 holes and a number of strategically-placed fairway bunkers to contend with; it’s not overly difficult by today’s standards and a score of 18-under par or better has been required to be in with a sniff coming down the stretch in recent times.
The addition of some new trees prior to the 2019 event was intended to prevent the bombers from cutting corners on a number of holes, plus a new strain of Bermuda rough has been used to help the course become more water-efficient, however the course hasn’t changed fundamentally and with good weather forecast I’d still expect high teens under par to be contending for the win on Sunday afternoon, give or take.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key statistics for this week’s event that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at Vilamoura: Current Form | Course Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Course Winners. 2020, George Coetzee, 16/1; 2019, Steven Brown, 150/1; 2018: Tom Lewis, 50/1; 2017: Lucas Bjerregaard, 66/1; 2016: Padraig Harrington, 100/1; 2015: Andy Sullivan, 50/1; 2014: Alexander Levy, 70/1; 2013: David Lynn, 80/1; 2012: Shane Lowry, 66/1; 2011: Tom Lewis, 100/1; 2010: Richard Green, 50/1.
For a summary of winners’ odds on the European Tour for the past 10 years click here.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.
A mainly settled four days are expected with dry and largely sunny weather and temperatures reaching the high 60s Fahrenheit in the afternoons. The breeze will be generally a moderate 10-15mph throughout.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Analysing the final stats of the last 11 winners of this event gives us a little more insight into the type of player suited to this test:
- 2020, George Coetzee (-16). 297.8 yards (15th). 48.2% fairways (48th), 68.1% greens in regulation (32nd), 69.6% scrambling (13th), 1.59 putts per GIR (2nd)
- 2019, Steven Brown (-17). 286.1 yards (46th). 53.6% fairways (30th), 76.4% greens in regulation (29th), 82.4% scrambling (2nd), 1.65 putts per GIR (1st)
- 2018, Tom Lewis (-22). 311.4 yards (12th), 41.1% fairways (69th), 76.4% greens in regulation (23rd), 41.2% scrambling (66th), 1.62 putts per GIR (5th)
- 2017, Lucas Bjerregaard (-20). 339.1 yards (4th), 60.7% fairways (16th), 81.9% greens in regulation (4th), 53.8% scrambling (33rd), 1.61 putts per GIR (1st)
- 2016, Padraig Harrington (-23). 301.5 yards (25th), 51.8% fairways (49th), 69.4% greens in regulation (67th), 81.8% scrambling (2nd), 1.54 putts per GIR (1st)
- 2015, Andy Sullivan (-23). 310.6 yards (11th), 71.4% fairways (9th), 81.9% greens in regulation (5th), 100% scrambling (1st), 1.66 putts per GIR (4th)
- 2014, Alex Levy (-18). 281.3 yards (40th), 71.4% fairways (11th), 77.8% greens in regulation (46th), 100% scrambling (1st), 1.46 putts per GIR (1st)
- 2013, David Lynn (-18). 268.9 yards (67th), 42.9% fairways (70th), 77.8% greens in regulation (20th), 87.5% scrambling (2nd), 1.64 putts per GIR (7th)
- 2012, Shane Lowry (-14). 302.3 yards (15th), 66.1% fairways (13th), 75.0% greens in regulation (13th), 55.6% scrambling (40th), 1.65 putts per GIR (1st)
- 2011, Tom Lewis (-21). 309.5 yards (4th), 58.9% fairways (40th), 86.1% greens in regulation (4th), 80.0% scrambling (2nd), 1.74 putts per GIR (33rd)
- 2010, Richard Green (-18). 281.3 yards (43rd), 71.4% fairways (14th), 83.3% greens in regulation (11th), 41.7% scrambling (59th), 1.72 putts per GIR (20th)
In lower-scoring years, the winner has generally dominated on the par 4s. Brown was -13 for the par 4s; Lewis was -11, Bjerregaard was -9, Harrington was -14, Sullivan was -13, Levy was -11 over two rounds, Lynn -10 and Lewis -7. -16 under from George Coetzee last year was the second-highest winning score in that stretch detailed above and that was reflected in his par-4 scoring of -7.
Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, both Steven Brown and George Coetzee topped SG Putting on their way to victory over the past 2 seasons:
- 2020: George Coetzee. T: 21st; A: 9th; T2G: 10th; ATG: 45th; P: 1st
- 2019: Steven Brown. T: 35th; A: 35th; T2G: 33rd; ATG: 37th; P: 1st
A strong approach and tee-to-green game is a viable route to getting into contention here, however the final piece of the jigsaw since Strokes Gained stats have been captured on the European Tour has been an excellent week with the flat stick.
Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.
Incoming Form: 7 of the past 11 winners here had recorded a win (Coetzee, Lewis, Sullivan, Levy) or a runner-up finish (Lynn, Lowry, Green) of some descriptions in that season to date, so had been clearly knocking at the door at various points that year; even Harrington with his pretty non-descript incoming form had finished 13th at the US PGA Championship which was a few levels higher than this.
2019 winner Steven Brown had recorded his best finish of an otherwise disappointing season the week before in France, whereas George Coetzee arrived in hot form, having finished 2/1 on the Sunshine Tour on his previous 2 starts:
- 2020, George Coetzee: 24/21/6/MC/MC/2/8/6/7/MC/2/1
- 2019, Steven Brown: 15/MC/MC/MC/MC/MC/15/64/MC/37/MC/11
- 2018, Tom Lewis: 30/MC/26/10/47/MC/3/29/6/65/1/3
- 2017, Lucas Bjerregaard: MC/62/7/59/MC/MC/61/MC/17/28/43/9
- 2016, Padraig Harrington: MC/MC/9/30/21/36/13/64/21/MC/MC/63
- 2015, Andy Sullivan: 17/6/13/MC/6/62/30/MC/MC/18/MC/46
- 2014, Alex Levy: 57/12/25/MC/12/35/21/58/30/67/MC/25
- 2013, David Lynn: MC/MC/MC/17/MC/53/22/MC/19/MC/23/MC
- 2012, Shane Lowry: 68/WD/MC/MC/51/17/11/2/49/MC/13/34
- 2011, Tom Lewis: 59/30/10/70
- 2010, Richard Green: 47/WD/2/MC/32/41/14/5/MC/11/8/29
Course Form: Overly positive form at the Victoria doesn’t look absolutely essential despite Tom Lewis having won this twice, both Padraig Harrington and David Lynn having recorded a 3rd place finish prior to their success, Lucas Bjerregaard arriving with consecutive top-12 finishes here and George Coetzee having recorded three top-7 finishes around these parts prior to winning last year.
Alex Levy and Tom Lewis (the first time around) were both playing here competitively for the first time when they won, and the other 4 winners since 2010 had hardly set the world alight on their previous attempts before lifting the trophy:
- 2020, George Coetzee: 3/6/21/31/7/20/14
- 2019, Steven Brown: 44/MC
- 2018, Tom Lewis: 1/49/38/58/MC/29/39
- 2017, Lucas Bjerregaard: 47/9/12
- 2016, Padraig Harrington: 3/16/16/47/31
- 2015, Andy Sullivan: 37/46/47
- 2014, Alex Levy: Debut
- 2013, David Lynn: 40/14/41/WD/3/MC
- 2012, Shane Lowry: 30/54/16
- 2011, Tom Lewis: Debut
- 2010, Richard Green: 42
Despite the recent changes, this Arnold Palmer design is a resort course first and foremost with wide fairways to encourage the longer hitters to attack.
It’s interesting to note though that Steven Brown, Richard Green and David Lynn aren’t the most aggressive of players and each have prevailed here since 2010, so it’s clear that there’s more than one way to succeed around here. However, in general, I’d favour the more aggressive types who can attack through a combination of strong Total Driving performance coupled with a good week on and around the greens.
My selections are as follows: