Despite its relatively short history, the Portugal Masters – which is this year celebrating its fifth anniversary – is an increasingly popular tournament on The European Tour, a fact reflected in the strength of the field on show this week in Vilamoura.
And in the initial quartet of events played at the striking Oceânico Victoria Golf Course there has been no lack of defining and unforgettable moments...
Webster wins an emotional inauguration – Sunday 21st October 2007
Englishman Steve Webster will retain a lifelong affinity with the Portugal Masters after his poignant victory in Vilamoura in the contest’s inaugural year came just five months after the death of his mother Valerie.
After posting a superb final-round 64 to win the event by two shots from Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, Webster broke down in tears in the arms of his caddie John Mulrooney, before admitting his late mother had never been far from his thoughts on the final day.
"I was thinking about her all the way round," said Webster. "Losing my mum really knocked me about. I didn't even think I'd get my card because it was quite tough.
"It was so hard to keep my mind on my golf but I knew she was watching out for me and it's an amazing feeling to play that well down the stretch."
Quiros wins à la Seve – Sunday 19th October 2008
In October 2008, European Tour legend Seve Ballesteros was in hospital in Madrid after undergoing what was to be the first of four operations he would have on a brain tumour.
At the same time, his compatriot, the big-hitting Alvaro Quiros, was en route to securing the €500,000 first prize at the second staging of the Portugal Masters, and after Quiros had completed a three shot victory over Paul Lawrie by coolly sinking a five-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole at Oceânico Victoria, he immediately dedicated the victory to his hospitalised hero and fellow Spaniard.
“My caddie told me that Seve always wanted to beat everybody and today I drew inspiration from thinking about the way he played his golf,” Quiros said at the time. "Seve was and still is a personal inspiration for all of the Spaniards and we wish him well. Today was a tough day for me with the long game. But with the short game, I kind of stopped and remembered him, you know, when he made chip and putts and wonderful recoveries.
“Seve played in a different way of the rest of the world. He was something special. He was playing more with the heart than the real game, and today was one of those days. We think you have two ways to make birdies: The easy way, driver, green, one putt; and the other one is drive, I don't know where, chip, I don't know where, and a good putt, and this is the way that I played today.”
Westwood ends barren run – Sunday 18th October 2009
Victory for Lee Westwood in the third rendition of the tournament not only halted a winless run that stretched back over two years, but proved a catalyst to a flying end to the season that would see the Worksop man run out Race to Dubai champion for 2009.
And it was the signature par five 17th that played a vital part in Westwood’s victory when at the time only one shot ahead of Italian Francesco Molinari.
After going long with his second shot, Westwood was faced with a nightmarish third, stranded just 30 yards from the putting surface.
"All I could see was trees and water - and I had a really tight lie," he said at the time.
However, Westwood produced a moment of brilliance, negating the awkward positioning to almost hole this third before tapping in for birdie, thus taking his lead to an unassailable two shots.
After securing what was his 30th professional victory, Westwood concurred: "Winning is definitely a habit and I got out of the habit. Hopefully now I have won again I can win more."
Green comes from seven shots back to snatch victory – Sunday 17th October 2010
Going into last year’s final day, Australian Richard Green was tied for 15th and an improbable seven shots off the leader, Pablo Martin.
In what was an extraordinary Sunday which saw the lead pass hands a number of times, Green shot an incredible 11 birdies in the first 15 holes to go to 20 under par, before three-putting on the 18th green to finish bogey-par-bogey, posting a clubhouse total of 18 under par.
Martin surpassed Green’s mark when he birdied the 12th, but a back nine that included bogeys at the 13th, 15th, 16th and a double bogey on the 18th after finding the water from the tee left the Spaniard tied for sixth and meant the title was Green’s.
“To be honest, I thought this one had slipped away. But the way it's worked out, I'm happy,” said Green. “I thought I was a little too it far back at seven shots behind the leader.
“But I set out today to shoot a good score and I had 64 in my mind. I thought if I got anywhere near, I would have a great week and to be here now with the trophy is just a fantastic feeling.”