Francesco Molinari 21/1
Francesco over a five foot putt; Robbie Keane in front of open goal- both images that make me first wince, then cry. Francesco with his now binned belly putter nearly had the Portugal Masters in the bag last year only to see it slip from his grasp on the 17th. Although Lee Westwood won by three, the drop he got after being long and left in the trees in two was the luckiest of his life and his chip down to the hole was a serious hit and hope affair. Any other day Westwood might have doubled or worse. Playing with Francesco, Westwood tapped in for the poxiest of birdies while the Italian missed the five footer that would have brought the gap to one. He may be tired this week, but Victoria owes Molinari one after last year.
Alvaro Quiros 17/1
Huge hitting Alvaro Quiros Garcia was right back in the mix last week in Scotland finishing tied fifth. The Spaniard showed he has the short game to match his booming drives and that prospect coupled with the fact that he cruised home at the Portugal Masters by three shots in 2008 make him an irresistible punt this week. Quiros has now clocked up six top-10’s this season with the high point coming at the Open de Espana in Seville in April where he notched up win number four. Only the weather can stop Quiros this week.
Simon Dyson 30/1
Its an indisputable fact of punditry that the winner of last week’s tournament the previous year, if you know what I mean, performs really well the following week! Let me explain. Simon Dyson went into last week’s Dunhill as defending champion. As such he was under pressure from the media, sponsors etc. And he played well tying fifth. This week he head’s to Portugal with absolutely no media or sponsors obligations and will undoubtedly play better. Unlucky to fall short of automatic Ryder Cup qualification Dyson has form on the Victoria course with a top 10 in 2008 and with the three top tens in his last five starts remains one to watch this week.
Danny Willett 25/1
It’s only a matter of time and perhaps watching some Zen relaxation clips on YouTube before Danny Willett claims his first Tour title. I held off on tipping him last week because I felt Portugal would be his huckleberry and fingers crossed it works out. Played sensational golf to finish second last week and only a couple of Kaymer miracle shots denied him. That second added to his third in Austria see Willett on the plane to Vilamoura very much expectant of a huge one this week on a course where he tied sixth last year.
Alexander Noren 50/1
To the mere mortal the Oceanico Victoria course in Vilamoura is a tough tight test but to these boys it’s like shelling peas. With a predicted winning score of about 20 under it’s a case of “go low” or “go home”. One player who caught my eye on the course last year was Alex Noren as he compiled a flawless final round of 62 with tough pins to tie for sixth. The German tied third at the Diamond Club in Austria before the Ryder Cup and returned with a 17th last week. One to watch late in the season, Noren won in September last year.
odds from betfair