The European Tour heads to continental Europe again this week for the Estoril Open de Portugal at the Penha Longa Hotel & Golf Resort in Sintra. The Open returns to Penha Longa for the third time in the event’s history and a number of the European Tour’s best players will have a chance to gain some more vital Ryder Cup points.
Northern Irishman Michael Hoey will defend the title he won in 2009 when he edged out Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain on the third extra hole at Oitavos Dunes in Cascais.
A host of on-form players on the European Tour will make the trip to Portugal for this week’s €1,000,000 total purse, including Ballantine’s champion Marcus Fraser, Bristolian Chris Wood, Macclesfield Golf Club’s Jamie Donaldson and two-time Ryder Cup player Thomas Bjorn who forced himself into contention at last week’s Celtic Manor Wales Open.
The Penha Longa Hotel and Golf Resort played host to the Open de Portugal in 1994 and 1995, and this week players will return to a Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout that has recently undergone world-class turfing, bunkering and irrigation refurbishment.
The 6,904-yard par 72 is located in the stunning landscape of the Sintra Hills and is known as the jewels in the crown of the Estoril and Sintra region.
The event has drawn top-quality winners such as Sam Torrance, Colin Montgomerie and Miguel-Angel Jimenez in the past, and the European top-30 course at the Penha Longa Resort will bring out another worthy winner this Sunday afternoon.
Venue: Penha Longa Hotel & Golf Resort, Linho, Sintra
Date: June 10-13
Course stats: Par 72, 6,904 yards
Purse: €1,000,000 Winner: €166,660
Defending champion: Michael Hoey (-7)
Thursday 10 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30am
Friday 11 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30am
Saturday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Sunday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – The Spaniard was extremely unlucky not to claim this event last year, losing out in a playoff, and has been in reasonable form this season with a tie for 12th last week.
Robert Rock – The Englishman is hitting some seriously good form of late, finishing in the top five in his last two events, including an impressive showing at the Celtic Manor.
Chris Wood – Although Wood fell away last week after an opening 65, it seems like a matter of time before last year’s Rookie of the Year wins this season, with near misses at Wentworth, Mallorca and Turin.
Key hole: 15th. The 197-yard par 3 will test the nerves of the European Tour’s very best – particularly during the final stretch on Sunday. With water guarding the front and left of the green, players will be delighted to walk off to the next tee with a par.
Skills required: Straight driving. Penha Longa gives you great birdie chances with four reachable par 5s, however players will need to keep the ball on the short grass from the tee to take advantage of these crucial opportunities.