Dave Tindall picks out three players to get onside early in Portugal this week...
"A 66 at the Alfred Dunhill Links last month shows he can still throw in a low one and, on a track which has been one of his favourites, I'll back him at 90/1 to get off to a flyer."
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Weather forecast for Thursday: It's sunshine and pleasant temperatures all day but the key is the wind. The forecast suggests it will drop to hardly anything from around 10am to the early afternoon before getting a little more testing later on.
FRL history at the Portugal Masters
2018 - 63 Lucas Herbert
2017 - 64 George Coetzee, Joost Luiten
2016 - 63 Marc Warren
2015 - 64 Andy Sullivan, Nicolas Colsaerts
2014 - 64 Nicolas Colsaerts
Strategy: It looks like the morning wave will get the best conditions so I'm going for a trio who are at the back end of the a.m. draw.
Count on Quiros
Alvaro Quiros is a former winner of this event, his 2008 victory sparked by an opening 66 which put him second after the first lap.
From 2013-2017, he shot in the 60s on day one five times in a row, his first-round 65 six years ago securing the R1 lead.
The Spaniard blows hot and cold and has been quiet since July but in June he had back-to-back top three finishes at the BMW International Open and Andalucia Masters.
A 66 at the Alfred Dunhill Links last month shows he can still throw in a low one and, on a track which has been one of his favourites, I'll back him at 90/1 to get off to a flyer.
Quiros sets off from the 10th tee at 09:10.
Look to Leon
This is the last chance to secure European Tour cards for 2020 and Hugo Leon hasn't managed that yet despite a string of top tens since June.
In terms of making fast starts, he's been inside the top six after round one on four occasions, the last thanks to a 66 in the Czech Masters.
This week's course doesn't need much learning so there's no reason why he can't stay hot after closing with 67 on Sunday to take T8 in the Open de France.
While the pressure of trying to bag playing privileges may kick in later in the week, I think it will act as incentive rather than millstone for the first day or two.
Leon tees off in the penultimate morning slot at 09:30 so looks to have the best of the conditions.
Home in on Hojgaard
Weekly followers of the European Tour will have already made note of young Danish talent Nicolai Hojgaard.
The 18-year-old finished runner-up at the KLM Open where he was in the top six all week and he popped up on the leaderboard in France again last week after an opening 67.
That put him in the top six after day one while he was second after Thursday's play at the KLM so that's two fast starts in his last four events.
Looking down a level and he's also been in the top five after 18 holes in two of his last five Challenge Tour events.
Danes have done well in Portugal in the past so he looks worth chancing at 100/1 from his 09:30 tee-time.
Dave's 2019 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)