Friday, October 02, 2009

Portugal Masters attracts star-studded field

The Portugal Masters field is shaping up to be the strongest in the tournament’s history with a host of European Tour stars being lured to the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course on the Algarve from October 15 – 18. Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher have all confirmed their places in the event, which was developed by the Portuguese government and is part of its National Tourism Strategy. Turismo de Portugal has helped build the Portugal Masters into a world-class tournament, and its partnership with The European Tour has also brought the Estoril Open de Portugal to the International Schedule, in addition to Senior and Challenge Tour events. Only five events will remain at the conclusion of the Portugal Masters before The European Tour’s top 60 players head to the Dubai World Championship for the season’s lucrative finale, and the competition is sure to be intense as a high quality field battle it out for the €500,000 winner’s share of the €3million prize fund. As well as McIlory, Westwood and Fisher, respectively third, fourth and sixth in The Race to Dubai before this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Søren Kjeldsen, Oliver Wilson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño will be playing at Oceânico Victoria. Europe’s reigning Number One, Robert Karlsson, will continue his comeback from a serious eye injury which sidelined him for four months this season. Two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen is another star name who will be descending on Vilamoura, joining defending champion Alvaro Quiros, three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, former Open Champions Ben Curtis and Paul Lawrie and 2003 US PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel. Graeme McDowell, whose impressive partnership with McIlroy helped Great Britain and Ireland retain the Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros last weekend, is also in the field, as are Justin Rose, Jeev Milkha Singh and Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who was named Golfer of the Month for September following his victory in the Austrian Golf Open, where he shot a stunning 60 in the final round. Many players will also have The 2010 Ryder Cup at the back of their mind as well as their Race to Dubai ranking, as the battle to be part of Colin Montgomerie’s European Team to take on Corey Pavin’s Americans at The Celtic Manor Resort next year gathers momentum. Chris Wood will be keen to carry his good form to Oceânico Victoria, having won four and a half points from five at the Vivendi Trophy, under the superb captaincy of Paul McGinley, who will also be present in Portugal.


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