After a three-week swing in Asia, The European Tour celebrates a special milestone when it returns to European soil this week for the 22nd edition of the Madeira Islands Open - Portugal - BPI.
The tournament has witnessed a number of records over the years and another landmark will be reached this week as The European Tour celebrates its 1,500th official event.
Two years ago, Ricardo Santos became the first Portuguese player to win a European Tour event on home soil with victory at Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra, and he will be looking to the home support for inspiration again as he attempts to regain the title.
The 31 year old went on to be named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 2012 and Peter Uilhein, the man who succeeded him as winner of the Madeira Islands Open - Portugal – BPI 12 months ago, also followed him as the recipient of that honour in 2013.
Since the event’s inception in 1993, nine players – including Santos and Uihlein - have claimed their maiden European Tour titles in Madeira, with the tournament also counting on the European Challenge Tour Rankings, therefore making it an important week for those players hoping to graduate on to The Race to Dubai in 2015.
Santos, whose brother Hugo will also feature, is one of seven former champions in the field, joined by Jarmo Sandelin (1996) Bradley Dredge (2003), Daniel Vancsik (2007), Alastair Forsyth (2008), Estanislao Goya (2009) and James Morrison (2010), with Dredge, Vancsik, Forsyth and Santos all triumphing over the Santo da Serra course.
Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson, who finished tied fourth two years ago, is also in the field, along with Challenge Tour Rankings leader Jordi Garcia Pinto.
Englishman Garrick Porteous, who won the Amateur Championship in 2013, will make his second European Tour appearance as a professional, having made his debut in last month’s Maybank Malaysia Open.
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