The country’s most important golf tournament of the year, the 5th Portugal Masters, teed off in Vilamoura yesterday (Thursday).
Until Sunday afternoon, some of the best players in the world, including three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, German course record holder Martin Kaymer – a 11-under-par round of 61 in 2007 – Scottish veteran Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal as well as three of the previous four victors will be chasing a part of the €3 million prize fund on the greens and fairways of the Oceanico Victoria course.
Perhaps more importantly for some in the top class field are the PGA ranking points on offer here, which can still contribute significantly towards qualification for the end-of-season Race to Dubai bonanza.
The seven-strong Portuguese contingent in Vilamoura is headed up by the Algarve’s very own Ricardo Santos and also includes amateurs Gonçalo Pinto and Pedro Figueiredo as well as national champion Antonio Rosado, Tiago Cruz, Filipe Lima and Hugo Santos.
The first-mentioned, younger of the Santos brothers, Ricardo, most recently shared 30th place in Lyon, cementing his third spot in the overall European Challenge Tour rankings and should benefit from his extensive first hand playing experience here.
The main event was preceded by a prestigious Pro-Am on Wednesday in which a Vale de Lobo amateur team competed (after the Algarve Resident went to press).
The three-some became the winners of the 4th Allgarve Masters Series final held at the Pestana Vila Sol course last weekend.
Tickets for the Portugal Masters, which also enjoys live television coverage, are priced at €20 per day while a €55 pass for the whole tournament is also available.
Visit www.oceanicogolf.com for more information.