2015 Portugal Masters preview

The tournament is traditionally low scoring and is without a repeat winner

Alexander Levy with the Portugal Masters trophy. Credit: Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is the ninth Portugal Masters, all of which have been at Oceânico Victoria. The event is traditionally low scoring.

Lowdown: This is the ninth running of the Portugal Masters, all of the editions of which have been held at Oceânico Victoria. The event is known for its low scoring with the average 72-hole winning score being 267.

Martin Kaymer explains that “You can go low at Oceânico, and it’s a lot of fun to play – especially the last few holes. The 15th is a driveable par four, the 16th is a tricky par three, the 17th is an exciting par five where you can easily make birdie or bogey, and on the last you have to be very brave with your drive if you want to make birdie. So it’s a very exciting finish, both for players and fans.”

Arnold Palmer designed the Oceânico Victoria as an American-style layout, with big bunkers and plenty of water on the back nine – the par-5 12th requires two carries over water, for example. The fairways are wide and the greens large and undulating.

Last season the weather curtailed the event and it was played over only 36 holes. It was the second European Tour event that season to be played over 36 holes due to the weather, and both were in Portugal.

Alexander Levy won and in doing so became the first Frenchman to win more than once in the same European Tour season, having previously triumphed at the Volvo China Open.

Venue: Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal Date: Oct 15-18 Course stats: par 71, 7,209 yards Purse: €2,000,000 Defending Champion: Alexander Levy (-18, 36 holes) TV Coverage: Thursday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am Friday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am Saturday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30pm Sunday 18 – Sky Sports 4 from 1pm

Player watch: Martin Kaymer - The highest-ranked player in the field is a fan of this event: “It’s a very good tournament, and it should get more credit than it does. The course is brilliant, and then when you’re done for the day, it’s very nice to visit the marina at night. So it’s got everything you want.” But a tie for seventh on his debut in 2007, when his opening round was 61, is his best result form his five appearances here. However he comes into it on the back of some good, if patchy, form, having lost a play-off at the Italian Open last month.

Alvaro Quiros - the big-hitting Spaniard is attached to Oceânico Victoria so should have some inside knowledge to bring to bear, along with the knowledge of how to win here having done so in the 2008 Portugal Masters.

Key hole: 17 – This is what Arnold Palmer reckons as the signature hole. It is the longest hole on the course at 589 yards. All the danger lurks on the right side, where there are waterfall-fed lakes. The approach to the green is also surrounded by water. It may sound a tough hole, yet it played the easiest last time out, with an average score on it of 4.61 and with three times as many birdies as bogeys. Those duelling for the lead down the stretch have a good chance to make up a shot here.

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.