Swashbuckling Spaniard Alvaro Quiros will this week lead a parade of past champions to the sixth edition of the Portugal Masters.
Quiros and his fellow former winners Steve Webster (2007), Richard Green (2010) and defending champion Tom Lewis will all be bidding to make history at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, with no player having lifted the trophy on more than one occasion.
Charismatic Quiros boasts a fine record at the Portugal Masters, having finished in the top 20 in four of the five appearances he has made in the €2.25million event.
And whilst Quiros is yet to engage top gear so far this term, the popular 29 year old – famed for his huge hitting – is confident a return to Vilamoura will help spark a late-season flourish.
He said: “Obviously it’s a golf course that I like, because I’ve won there in the past and I always seem to play well there. My form at the moment is not the best, but I hope returning to Oceânico Victoria will inspire a change of fortune. I’m not playing badly but I’m not playing as well as I know I can, so it’s good to have the Portugal Masters to look forward to and hopefully I will get some good feelings from going back there.
“I’m sure the golf course will be in great condition, as it always is, and hopefully we will have some good weather too, as I always feel better playing with the sun on my back. I can also drive there from home, which is great for me because it’s so nice to just jump in my car rather than having the hassle of airports. Plus I will have a few friends coming to watch me, and it’s always nice to have the support of my people.
“I need a few good weeks before now and the end of the season to make sure I’m in the field to defend my title in Dubai in November, so hopefully that will start in Portugal.”
Webster is hoping to continue his recent renaissance, having finished in a tie for 12th place at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship thanks chiefly to a stunning round of 64 on the final day.
The Englishman boasts a highly impressive record at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, finishing first – with a record 25 under par aggregate total – and third on his first two visits, and is looking forward to one of his “favourite tournaments on Tour”.
He said: “I absolutely love it there, the course really suits my eye and I’ve got some great memories of playing really well there. The year I won, in the final round I played with Robert Karlsson, whose caddie, Gareth Lloyd, is one of my best mates.
“He came and visited my Mum [Val] when she was really ill [with cancer], so I just thought it was fate when I was drawn with him on the last day. As much as I wanted to win I also wanted Robert and Gareth to do well, and it worked out perfectly with him shooting 65 and me shooting 64 to win by two shots.”
Green also won by two shots from four players – including Karlsson – in 2010, and the Australian is eager to draw on the memories of his victory, especially his closing round of 65.
He said: “I love the place and the weather’s always kind to us, so I’m really looking forward to going back because I’ve got a lot of belief that I can go there and play well. I had a great final round two years ago, then had a long wait to see if anyone would overtake me. So it was a big relief to finally get my hands on the trophy, and hopefully I can get myself into contention to win again this year.”