Friday, 19 March 2010

Pablo Martin returns this week to the scene of one of The European Tour's most stunning victories – hoping his good memories will spark a return to form.

On April Fools Day two years ago Martin, just 20 at the time, became the first amateur to win in The Tour's 1,145-event history when he captured the Estoril Open de Portugal at Quinta da Marinha, Oitavos Golfe.

As a star of the American college scene the young Spaniard's talent was known about on both sides of the Atlantic and a glittering future looked assured.

He qualified for the US Open Championship in the week he turned professional and, after being paired in the first two rounds with Sergio Garcia and José Maria Olazábal, beat them both in finishing 30th.

But while they prepare for next week's the Masters Tournament, Martin goes back to Cascais 724th in the World after missing the halfway cut in his last nine tournaments.

He has not had a single round under 70 in that run and it is not as if it is only since October that things have turned sour. He also missed nine cuts in a row last summer.

The former British boys champion - he was 15 when he won that - has turned to top coach Pete Cowen for help and said: "I think anybody can play good golf if you work on the right things.

"I have played good golf in the past and I am sure it is still there somewhere.

"It's putting things together and having patience. That's what people tell you, but nobody sees inside. I don't know - I work hard and wait.

"I have good memories in Portugal and I am looking forward to seeing if I can play well there."

The surroundings certainly seemed to reignite things last year when he opened with a course-record 63. But while Frenchman Grégory Bourdy matched it and went on to win, Martin slipped back to 15th.

He matched that at the Open de Espana next time out but then the missed cuts started again.

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