Portugal Masters preview

The Portugal Masters is the next stop for the European Tour with the likes of Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez taking part in a talented field at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course.

World number 3 Kaymer will be looking to improve on the form he showed in his last two tournaments when he finished 30th in Scotland at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships and missed the cut at KLM Open in the Netherlands.

The German’s last high place finish was second behind Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn at the Omega Masters in Switzerland, where the Dane beat off a similarly strong field to win his third event of the year and his second consecutive tour win, after topping the leaderboard at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles the previous week.

Padraig Harrington is the highest ranked Irishman to take part in Portugal after his good showing at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship saw him finish in 18th place on 15-under par, seven shots off the lead and a huge improvement on his previous form.

The three-time major champion finished on 11-over par at the US PGA Championship in August and has since re-evaluated his game, changed his long term coach Bob Torrance and worked out a new swing with new coach Pete Cowen.

His form has been improving steadily after testing out his new swing in the Austrian Open where he came 36th and then finishing in the top ten at St Andrew’s just under two weeks ago.

Shane Lowry will also take part in Portugal and the Offaly man will be looking to improve on his recent form which has seen him missing the cut in three of the last six tournaments he has played.

Damien McGrane and Paul McGinley go into this weekend’s tournament after their exploits at the Madrid Masters last week where McGinley placed 28th on 4-under par while McGrane’s 4-over par on the last day left him on 2-over for the tournament and tied for 55th.

Peter Lawrie, Gareth Maybin and Gary Murphy will also take part, with Murphy playing on a sponsor invitation and Maybin fresh from making the cut in Madrid but failing to do much more as he finished on the 3-over par last weekend.

Other noteworthy players taking part in Portugal are Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, Ross Fisher and veteran Colin Montgomerie who finished 21st at his last tournament in his home country of Scotland at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

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