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The bubble boys - A look at those fighting for their cards at the Portugal Masters

The bubble boys - A look at those fighting for their cards at the Portugal Masters

The DP World Tour is set for one of its most nail-biting weeks of the season as the 2022 Portugal Masters hands players the last chance to earn points to keep their playing privileges.

Renato Paratore

Last season incredibly saw nobody move in or out of the top 121 of the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex as the final counting event was held at the AVIV Dubai Championship, with David Drysdale the man to keep his card right on the bubble.

The Scotsman will need a top-two finish at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course this week if he is to have any chance of keeping his card for 2023 but for those closer to this year's magic mark of 117th, there could be much more waiting and uncertainty before the final putt drops on Sunday afternoon.

Here, we take a look at the ten players either side of the line who are looking for a strong week in Vilamoura.

Aaron Cockerill - 111th

Aaron Cockerill

A Qualifying School graduate in 2019, the Canadian secured his maiden top ten in a Covid-affected rookie season and since then has managed to make plenty of appearances as he looks to truly establish himself on Tour. He finished second at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa and was in the top 25 on the Rankings after finishing third in the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain but has made just four cuts in ten appearances since then and will need a solid week to stop the slide.

Espen Kofstad - 114th

Espen Kofstad

Having finally put his injury problems behind him, the Norwegian will be looking for a good week and the chance to finally fully establish himself on the DP World Tour. He topped the European Challenge Tour Rankings in 2012 and played 30 events in 2013 - including his first top ten at the Open de España - but then played just 14 in the next five seasons despite coming through the Qualifying School in 2014 and 2016. A 2021 Challenge Tour graduate, he secured a second career top ten at the Horizon Irish Open and has been on the right side of the bubble ever since.

Jazz Janewattananond - 115th

Jazz Janewattananond

The Thai knows what it is like to play under pressure, having chipped in for eagle at the final hole of the Qualifying School to earn his card on the number in 2017. He has two runner-up finishes on Tour with a further seven top tens, the most important of which may have come last week. When he holed a 46-footer on the 11th for an eagle on Sunday at the Mallorca Golf Open, he was comfortably keeping his card, but he went bogey-double bogey before a birdie on the 17th sealed a tie for sixth and left him in his current position.

Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez - 116th

Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez

A Challenge Tour graduate in 2019 having started that campaign on the Alps Tour, he finished 120th in the Rankings last season and is set for a nervy final week again. He has spent the entire season between 106th and 142nd in the Rankings, making his last six cuts to edge his way back to the right side of the line.

Darius van Driel - 117th

Darius van Driel

The man everyone behind needs to get past. The Dutchman graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2019, the same season he finished second at the Belgian Knockout for his best DP World Tour finish. He kept his card relatively comfortably in 2021 as he enjoyed another runner-up finish at the Porsche European Open but has spent the majority of 2022 outside the top 117 having entered last week on the bubble before finishing 37th.

Ricardo Gouveia - 119th

Ricardo Gouveia

After topping the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2015, the Portuguese enjoyed an impressive rookie season as he finished 54th on the Rankings but it was a close-run thing to keep his card in the next two seasons before he lost it in 2019. A second Challenge Tour graduation in 2021 put him back on Tour and two top tens over the season coupled with top 20s in the last two events have given him a chance to stay there.

Francesco Laporta - 120th

Francesco Laporta

Another Challenge Tour number one in 2019, who had also come through the Qualifying School in 2015, the Italian's days of fighting for his playing privileges looked to be over as he finished 41st in the Rankings after five top tens in 2021 including in the Rolex Series at BMW PGA Championship. He has not been able to replicate that form in 2022, however, and while a top five at Made in HimmerLand briefly moved him inside the top 117, he is back on the outside looking in.

Renato Paratore - 121st

Renato Paratore

After coming through the Qualifying School at just 17 in 2014, he narrowly kept his card in his rookie campaign and did not look back, winning the Nordea Masters in 2017 and British Masters in 2020. In that 2020 campaign he finished 21st in the Rankings as he completed five consecutive seasons in the top 100. But he was outside the top 200 in July before back-to-back top fives in a run of four consecutive top 30s put him back within touching distance of a card.

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia - 122nd

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia

A Qualifying School graduate in 2008 and 2010, the Spaniard is playing his third full season on Tour 20 years after he made his debut. He finished sixth on the Challenge Tour in 2021 and spent most of this season outside the top 117 before a second career top ten recently at the acciona Open de España presented by Madrid. A missed cut and a tie for 66th since to end a hat-trick of events in his homeland send him to Portugal needing to make the weekend for the 15th time in 27 appearances.

David Horsey - 123rd


Four-time winner Horsey has what it takes to produce an impressive performance when one is required and knows exactly what he has to do this week to make the top 117.

*Henrik Stenson in 112th is exempt for 2023, while Victor Dubuisson in 113th and Erik van Rooyen in 118th are not playing this week.

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