Martin Kaymer is relishing a return to the course where he first alerted the golfing world to his potential as a future superstar when he tees up in the sixth edition of the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura from October 11-14.
The former World Number One was nearing the end of his rookie season on The European Tour when he arrived in the Portuguese Algarve and proceeded to obliterate the course record in the first round of the 2007 Portugal Masters with an 11 under par 61.
That stunning round – one of four course records still in his possession – advertised Kaymer’s enormous, raw promise which he has rapidly converted into major global success over the subsequent five seasons.
Although he didn’t win the Portugal Masters in 2007, when England’s Steve Webster grabbed the glory, Kaymer displayed enough of his colossal talent to hint at a big future ahead of him. And the 27 year old German can’t wait to get back to a venue and a tournament close to his heart.
He insisted: “I’m really looking forward to playing in Portugal again this year. I think it is one of the best golf courses we play all year and I always look forward to going back. It has a good prize fund, a good field and is a very important part of my schedule.
“We can stay in the hotel on site and the course itself is excellent. I’ve finished seventh and eighth in the past and it’s good to know that I still have the course record at 11 under par from five years ago.”
Since finishing tied seventh in 2007, Kaymer’s career has gone into orbit with ten European Tour titles, a first Major Championship in the 2010 US PGA Championship, a winning Ryder Cup debut for Europe in Wales that same year and his elevation to World Number One in early 2011.
Although he has yet to win in 2012, Kaymer qualified for another Ryder Cup appearance in Chicago later this month, before he returns to Europe to try to recapture the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and collect a first success in the Portugal Masters the following week.
He added: “The field is strong, the crowds are usually great fun, the organisation is good and I always remember the Pro-Am being fun to play, so overall it is a very nice week.
“It is a golf course where you can be aggressive. There are some par fours where you can go for the green, depending on where they put the tee boxes. So in general it is a fun course for us to play and the last three or four holes are great. There is a drivable par four and the 17th is very exciting over water. Even if you are leading by one or two shots it will always be an exciting finish.
“The first year I played there I shot the course record and finished seventh, then last year I was eighth, so I have always done fairly well there. The whole combination of the hotel, the fans and the course means it is always a comfortable week and it helps me play well.
“It will come after a very busy time for me with The Ryder Cup and the Dunhill Links, but hopefully I will be in the rhythm by the and hopefully I will perform well again there.”
England’s Tom Lewis, last season’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, will defend his title in the €2.25 million tournament, which can play an important role in deciding the destination of The Race to Dubai crown at the end of the season.
Advance tickets are available now for the 2012 Portugal Masters, with substantial savings on the gate prices. Admission to the Pro-Am on October 10 is €10, with Any One Day Adult passes costing €15 (€20 on the gate) and concessions €12 in advance or €15 on the gate. Adult Season tickets are priced at €45 (Wednesday to Sunday) compared to €55 on the gate. To buy tickets, log onto: www.europeantour.com/tickets