Wednesday, October 14, 2015

 Portugal Masters tees off tomorrow and it cannot come soon enough for last year's winner Alex Levy
EUROPEAN TOUR COMMUNICATIONS Alex Levy is hoping to maintain his 100 per cent record at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course on the Algarve this week as he defends his Portugal Masters title on what has become one of his happiest hunting grounds.
For not only did he secure his second European Tour title there 12 months ago, romping to victory on his Portugal Masters debut after averaging a birdie on every other hole over the first two rounds, but Levy also helped his native France win the European Amateur Team Championship when it was held at the Vilamoura venue four years ago.
So two trips to Oceânico Victoria GC have yielded a pair of victories – no wonder Levy talks of Arnold Palmer’s creation in glowing terms.
Another player who counts the course amongst his favourites is Martin Kaymer, who will be hoping to make as big an impact in his latest appearance in the €2 million tournament as he did in his first.
The Portugal Masters made its debut on The European Tour International Schedule in 2007 and Kaymer took no time in making himself comfortable, firing an opening round of 61 on his way to a tie for seventh in the same season he won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.
The German has since gone on to great things, winning two Major Championships, climbing his way to World Number One and winning The Race to Dubai in 2010.
That tie for seventh eight years ago remains his highest finish in the Portugal Masters, but the 30 year old is confident of capitalising on his upturn in form in recent weeks.
Paul Lawrie and fellow Scot Marc Warren are in the same grouping for the first two rounds.
Key quotes
Alex Levy: “I’m very happy to be here to defend my title, it’s a great golf course, a lovely hotel and the food is also great. I played some of the best golf of my life here last year. It was a very good week for me, and I’ve got some very good memories. It will be hard to make 18 birdies in the first 36 holes again this week, but I will try!

“You can look back at what helped you achieve that, but now I have to move forward. It’s nice to see pictures of me with the trophy on Twitter and Instagram, and to have scored like I did was amazing. But the important thing is understanding what helped you achieve those things, and how you can replicate that.”

Martin Kaymer: “I enjoy the golf course. It’s one of those where when you hit the fairway, you have a lot of chances so you need to be very patient. Once you hit it in the rough, it can get very tricky so you just need to hit the fairways.

“It's nice when you have a golf course at a venue where you can stay pretty much on the golf course. They have very nice rooms here at the hotel, good food, good golf course and everything is very close. You don’t need to walk or drive far. In the evenings you can go to the marina and have dinner there, so overall it’s a very pleasant week for the players.”
Did You Know?
• Tom Lewis claimed his first European Tour title in just this third event as a professional at the 2011 Portugal Masters. This matched the European Tour record for a player winning in the fewest amount of events since leaving the amateur game. Alejandro Cañizares won on his third outing in the paid ranks at the 2006 Russian Open.
• Playing on as sponsor's invitation in 2011, Lewis – then aged 20 years and 284 days – became the third youngest Englishman to win in European Tour history, behind Paul Way (aged 19 years and 149 days at the 1982 KLM Open), and Sir Nick Faldo (aged 20 years and 30 days at the 1977 Skol Lager Individual).
• When Shane Lowry won the 2012 Portugal Masters, beating Ross Fisher by one shot, he joined Pablo Martin Benavides as the only other player to have won on The European Tour as both an amateur and a professional. Lowry won the Irish Open in 2009 as an amateur in his very first European Tour appearance.
• When Richard Green won the 2010 Portugal Masters, he became the second left-hander to win that year, following Phil Mickelson at the Masters Tournament. This marked the first time in European Tour history that two left handed players had won in the same season.
• The Portugal Masters is known for its low scoring. Taking out the 2014 event, the average winning score is 267. For the fourth consecutive year the course will be played as a par 71, as opposed to a 72.

- Ends -



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