Former Open Champion Darren Clarke will step up his bid for a first professional victory on Portuguese soil when he competes in the sixth edition of the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria Golf Club, in Vilamoura, from October 11-14.
The 44 year old Northern Irishman has collected 14 European Tour titles over 20 seasons at the top, including The 140th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s last year, which surpassed even the impressive achievements of capturing a pair of World Golf Championships in the United States in 2000 and 2003.
Clarke, who has won close to €20 million in official earnings during a glittering career, had experienced some close calls in The Open Championship since making his debut as an amateur in 1990, but finally struck gold in wet and windy Kent last July by landing the biggest title of his career in glorious style.
That hugely popular success, at the age of 42, secured Clarke’s place in Northern Irish folklore and earned him appreciation from The European Tour in the form of Honorary Life Membership and the Professional Golfers Association’s annual Recognition Award in 2011.
The five-time Ryder Cup player, who has played in four of the previous five editions of the Portugal Masters, said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing in the Portugal Masters. You are always guaranteed a very hospitable welcome and the climate and food are outstanding.
“I’ve won titles in a number of countries, including a couple in Spain ‘next door’, so it would be nice to win in a different country and over a golf course I’ve enjoyed playing in the past.”
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