Portugal Masters: A good week to get trading, says The Punter

Gregory Havret – The Punter’s idea of value in Portugal this week
Gregory Havret – The Punter’s idea of value in Portugal this week

Steve takes a detailed look at this week's European Tour action from Portugal where there are some strong course correlations to ponder and possible in-play trends to exploit. Read his in-depth preview here...

“The only player in the field that I’d consider a really good price is the first player I backed this week, Frenchman, Gregory Havret. He’s been in fair form, was third here in 2011 and has top-ten finishes at both Doha and the Emirates.”


Tournament History

A relatively new event on the European Tour, the Portugal Masters was first staged in 2007 and this will be just the eighth renewal.


Venue

Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal


Course Details

Par 71, 7,209 yards
Stroke index in 2013 - 69.68

The Arnold Palmer-designed Oceânico Victoria opened in 2004. It staged the World Cup of Golf a year later, when Wales won a weather-shortened event and it's been the venue for this tournament from day one. It's an exposed course with water in-play on seven holes. The well-bunkered fairways are of average width and the bentgrass greens are very large and undulating. The rough is usually minimal and described as not very punishing.

Prior to the 2012 edition of event the rough was changed to Bermuda and the third hole was changed form a par 5 to a par 4 and this year, for the second year in-a-row, the par 5 12th, has been lengthened again. It went from 547 in 2012 to 593 last year but still ranked as the easiest hole on the course. This year it measures 610.

This could be the venue where we get to witness the European Tour's first sub-60 round. Martin Kaymer shot 61 in the opening round of the very first staging and Scott Jamieson shot 60 in round three last year.


Useful Sites
Course Site

Twitter Link
Tee Times
Weather Forecast


TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days - 11:30 and 15:00 on Thursday and Friday, 13:00 on Saturday and 13:30 on Sunday


Last Five Winners

2013 - David Lynn -18
2012 - Shane Lowry -14
2011 - Tom Lewis -21
2010 - Richard Green -18
2009 - Lee Westwood -23


What Will it Take to Win The Portugal Masters?

With four of the first five winners ranking inside the top-12 for driving distance,  I used to view length off the tee as very important here but that's slowly changing and the last four winners have ranked 43rd, 4th, 15th and 67th for length off the tee so it's certainly not imperative to hit it miles anymore. The seven winners to date have an average accuracy off the tee ranking of just 32, with three winners ranking no better than 40th, so it doesn't appear vital what you do off the tee.

No winner has ranked any worse than 26th for greens in regulation but some have won despite not ranking really well for putting -Tom Lewis ranked just 33rd and the three winners that preceded him ranked outside the top-ten for putting. With four of the seven winners ranking first for birdies made, it's all about creating as many chances as possible. Really accurate iron-play is going to be the key to victory this week. And for what it's worth, five of the seven winners have ranked inside the top-four for par 4 scoring.


Is There an Angle In?

The two courses that correlate really well with this one are Doha, which hosts the Qatar Masters, and the Emirates Golf Club, where the Dubai Desert Classic is staged. 

Only two of the seven winners here to date, haven't shown form at both the Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic. Last year's winner, David Lynn, has been third in Dubai and has had back-to-back top-11 finishes in Qatar. Inaugural event winner, Steve Webster, finished fourth in Qatar last year and fifth this, as well as fifth in Dubai. The 2009 winner, Lee Westwood, has been runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic three times and has twice finished inside the top-five in Qatar. Richard Green, successful here four years ago, has also won the Dubai Desert Classic and has two top-four finishes in Qatar, and Alvaro Quiros has won all three events.

There are also a number of players with placed form at the three events and an analysis of the results at Doha and the Emirates could well pay dividends.


Is There an Identikit Winner?

Lee Westwood, the 2009 winner, is the only well-fancied winner of this title and outsiders have fared well so don't be put off if you fancy someone at a big price. 


In-Play Tactics

This looks like a great event for in-running betting, especially on day four. Alvaro Quiros is the only third round leader to convert in seven years and some of the winners have come from miles back on Sunday. 

David Lynn shot 63 to win quite comfortably from a tie for 16th and six back twelve months ago, the two winners before him had both trailed by four with a round to go, and Richard Green had been seven adrift before going on to win by two strokes in 2010. 


Market Leaders

The 2012 winner, in-form Irishman, Shane Lowry, heads the market but he looks short enough to me. Although he's been in the mix a few times recently he's been fairly disappointing in-contention and I'm more than happy to pass him by.

I highlighted a few players to follow in my de-brief after the KLM Open a few weeks ago, and last week I had to watch Tommy Fleetwood putt for birdie at the 72nd hole to get into a playoff with Oliver Wilson at the Dunhill Links Championship after I'd let him go un-backed, despite fancying his chances. 

I turned my nose up at Tommy on account of his price and I'll do so again here and I'm also going to snub the man I highlighted as someone to follow in this event in that piece - Bernd Wiesberger

The Austrian is coming back into form nicely but he's just far too short at less than 20.019/1 for someone that hasn't convinced in-contention of late.
 

Selections

I spent a long time going through the field, looking for a decent bet but couldn't really see one so given the strong record outsiders have in the event, the volatile nature of a typical Sunday leaderboard and the lack of obvious value towards the head of the market, I've decided to lay the majority of the fancied players before the off again, as I did last week. 

I've layed everyone trading at less than 100.099/1 apart from Thorbjorn Olesen, who I was very tempted to back, and Quiros, who I have backed.

The Spaniard won the event in 2008 and now lives at the resort so I thought I'd get him onside. He's been playing some nice golf of late but putting terribly so hopefully a return to familiar greens might spark a big improvement with the flatstick.

The only player in the field that I'd consider a really good price is the first player I backed this week, Frenchman Gregory Havret. He's been in fair form, was third here in 2011 and has top-ten finishes at both Doha and the Emirates. 

After that I've given yet another chance to Michael Hoey, who is just such a big price for a multiple winner, and I've had a tiny bet on Alejandro Canizares, on account of his bold showing at Doha in January, and on Quiros' good friend, Ricardo Santos, who also lives at the venue.

My lay book hasn't yet been finalised but it's going to look something like this...

Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£300
Best Case Scenario +£570


Selections
Alvaro Quiros @ 95.094/1
Gregory Havret @ 140.0139/1
Michael Hoey @ 150.0149/1
Alejandro Canizares @ 180.0179/1
Ricardo Santos @ 200.0199/1


I'll be back later with my Frys.com Open preview.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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