Record-breaking 21 year old Matteo Manassero will be hoping to become the first Italian winner of the Portugal Masters when he heads to Oceânico Victoria Golf Course next month.
The 2013 BMW PGA Champion has added his name to a strong field for the €2million event, which returns to the stunning Oceânico Victoria in Vilamoura for an eighth edition from October 9-12, and he will be looking for a fifth European Tour title.
Manassero, who holds numerous records on The European Tour, including the youngest winner at 17 years and 188 days, has a best finish of tied 12th in the Portugal Masters, in 2012, and is relishing the chance to improve on that in four weeks’ time.
“The Portugal Masters is one of my favourite events of the season and I would love to add my name to the trophy,” said Manassero. “The weather is good at that time of year and Vilamoura is a great place to be with its marina and nice restaurants. The hotel on site is excellent, and the whole place always has a really good atmosphere with lots of spectators and families.
“I’ve managed to win every season on The European Tour since 2010, but so far in 2014 I’ve yet to win a title. I’d love to be able to put that right before the end of the year, and hopefully the Portugal Masters will be a good chance to do it.”
Joining Manassero will be his compatriot Francesco Molinari, who has twice come close to taking the spoils at Oceânico Victoria, finishing runner-up in 2009 to Englishman Lee Westwood and tied second behind Australian Richard Green in 2010.
Molinari’s second near-miss featured two rounds of 62, and although they were interspersed with two rounds of 74 which ultimately scuppered his challenge, the 31 year old cannot wait to return to a course which he believes is perfectly suited to his game.
“The Portugal Masters definitely owes me a win,” joked the 2010 and 2012 Ryder Cup player. “I’m really looking forward to it because I really enjoy playing the course. There are a lot of chances for birdie and it’s possible to score very low.
“It’s a great time of year to play golf in Portugal and the event always has a good feeling to it with many players taking their families.”
Molinari’s 2012 Ryder Cup team-mates Nicolas Colsaerts and Peter Hanson are also in the field, as are José María Olazábal, the man who guided Europe to victory at Medinah, and Paul McGinley, who will lead the home side at Gleneagles later this month.
Englishman David Lynn will defend the title he won in sublime fashion 12 months ago, and former winners Steve Webster (2007), Alvaro Quiros (2008) and Shane Lowry (2012) will also tee it up in the €2million event.