European Tour bids farewell to Europe
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 Portugal Masters | Preview | 11 Oct 2012
The European Tour heads south to significantly warmer climes of Portugal this week for the Portugal Masters at the Arnold Palmer designed Oceanico Victoria Golf Course at Vilamoura on the Algarve Peninsula.
The event is the last played in Europe in 2012 as following this week the European Tour plays events in Perth in Australia, China (twice) Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Dubai.
The Andalucia Masters, which was to have been played next week opposite the Perth event, was cancelled so effectively the 2012 European Tour says goodbye to Europe this week.
The defending champion is Tom Lewis who defeated Rafael Cabrera Bello by two shots last year and established himself as a potential future star of European golf. He may well still be but this season has seen a disappointing run of form as the Englishman struggled to build on his win.
Lewis has missed seven of his last eight cuts so for him to successfully defend might well be as much of a surprise as his breakthrough victory last year.
Francesco Molinari has been twice runner-up up in this event and has played well enough in the last few months to be a real chance to win on a golf course that clearly suits him.
Martin Kaymer finished 8th in this event last year and although he has not had a great year in 2012 his involvement in Europe’s great victory at Medinah and a recent good finish in Italy suggests things might get better quickly.
George Coetzee stormed home at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a final round of 62 at St Andrews and interestingly he produced a very low final round in this event last year.
Thorbjorn Olesen appears to be one of the next best things as far as the European Tour is concerned. The Dane’s runner-up finish at St Andrews last week comes on top of several other good performances this year. He did miss the cut in this event last year but is a much improved player now.
Only four Australians are in the field. Richard Green is a former winner of the event and although sadly out of form at present this might provide a chance to get things moving in the right direction.
Andrew Dodt and Matthew Zions are the other two Australians although New Zealander Michael Campbell will also tee it up.
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