Padraig Harrington defends Portugal Masters

The European Tour heads for the Algarve and the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura

Padraig Harrington defends Portugal Masters
Padraig Harrington defends Portugal Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington defends the Portugal Masters over the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura and a strong field has assembled for the tournament.

The Portugal Masters in Vilamoura has attracted many of the biggest names on the European Tour including defending champion Padraig Harrington, 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett, Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters and last week’s KLM Open champ Romain Wattel.

This year will be the 11th instalment of the Portugal Masters. First contested in 2007, the inaugural tournament was won by England’s Steve Webster. Since then, Alvaro Quiros, Lee Westwood, Richard Green, Tom Lewis, Shane Lowry, David Lynn, Alexander Levy and Andy Sullivan have been champions.

In last year’s Portugal Masters Padraig Harrington played his way back into the European Tour winners’ circle for the first time since the 2008 USPGA Championship. He finished one clear of then defending champion Andy Sullivan.

Andy Sullivan bunker clinic:

The Dom Pedro Victoria in Vilamoura is part of Dom Pedro’s impressive portfolio of courses on the Algarve. Opened for play in 2004, it was designed by the great Arnold Palmer. It’s an American-style track with generous fairways and large, rolling greens. In 2005 the course hosted the World Cup, won by Wales.

The weather forecast for the Algarve looks set fair. Warm temperatures and sunshine are likely.

Continues below

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Venue: Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal Date: Sep 21-24 Course stats: par 71, 7,146 yards Purse: €2,000,000 Winner: €333,330 Defending champion: Padraig Harrington (-23)

TV Coverage: Thursday 21 – Sky Sports Golf from 11.30am Friday 22 – Sky Sports Golf from 11.30am Saturday 23 – Sky Sports Golf from 1pm Sunday 24 – Sky Sports Golf from 1pm

Player Watch:

Thorbjorn Olesen – The talented Dane has been knocking on the door this season but hasn’t quite reached the heights he would have liked to. He has only missed one cut on the European Tour in 2017 and has showed great consistency. If he can get a few putts to drop at the right time, he should contend.

Andy Sullivan – He may not have been on top form in recent weeks but he loves this venue. He was the champion in 2015 and was runner-up last year. He’ll surely feed on good memories to produce a good performance.

George Coetzee – The South African has been third and sixth in this event in the past. He was tied third last week in Holland and will look to push on from that result.

Key Hole: 18th. At 463 yards this is a fabulous finishing hole. Water waits all the way up the left side from the tee and it continues to play a part in the approach. Anything coming up short or straying left will end up wet. A par here is a tough ask, particularly if you have a one-shot lead on Sunday afternoon.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?