The European Tour remains in Portugal, as it heads 200 miles north-west to contest this week’s national open at Royal Obidos Spa and Resort.
This spectacular course was designed by five-time major winner Seve Ballesteros who sadly passed away a year before the venue was opened in 2012.
The Portuguese Open, which has a prize fund of €500k, is a dual category event, and also forms part of the Challenge Tour schedule for this season.
This will be the first time that Royal Obidos has staged a professional golf event of this stature.
Located around 50 miles north of the country’s capital Lisbon, the course is laid out on typically rugged coastal terrain.
At its nearest point, Royal Obidos is less than half-a-mile from the Atlantic Ocean with water coming into play on four holes.
However, despite this superb location to play golf, this week’s field will be one of the weakest all year on the European Tour.
Those who are involved include last week’s champion in the Algarve, George Coetzee, who is on an impressive run at present.
The South African arrived in Portugal last week on the back of a victory on home soil and is therefore chasing a hat-trick of sorts at Royal Obidos.
Even prior to lockdown he’d posted four straight top-10s – two of these on the European Tour – and after being ranked 192 in the world at the start of February, he has now made his way up to No 85.
Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent should also be among the front runners this week, following his tie-for-eighth in Vilamoura.
Searching for a winner
Few names standout, so if you are able to sort the wheat from the chaff, there is certainly some good money to be earned this weekend.
Jamie Donaldson, who tied-10th at the tricky Valderrama two weeks ago, is probably the best known golfer taking part, while Scot Craig Howie might feel at home at this rugged venue.
The 26-year-old is still very much a rookie at this level but has posted a brace of top-six finishes on the European Tour since lockdown ended.
One interesting entry this week is Tyler Koivisto, a 27-year-old former teacher from Minnesota.
Playing in his first World Ranking event earlier this month, Koivisto celebrated his debut on the Challenge Tour by winning the Northern Ireland Open. What chance another strong performance in Portugal?
Two other names to consider are American Julian Suri – a former world No 60 – and Germany’s Allen John.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves