Vilamoura is the host of the 16th consecutive DP World Tour. This has been the case for many years.
Like in Mallorca, pressure is building on those ranked around 117th on DP World rankings. Only those above that rank will be able to retain their playing privileges. It can get very tight.
Darius Van Driel at the cut before Mallorca Golf Open. With 18 holes left, he was sitting pretty and had a 5-over 76. This saw him fall just one spot, but enough to lose his ‘card’, meaning he is now under pressure to perform this week.
Jazz Janewattanond’s 17th-hole birdie could have made the difference between entering this week at 116 and going home at 116. This is an 11-place increase in just a few days.
Even Q-school graduates are not safe. Only the top 60 will be able to participate in the Nedbank Challenge next week. The final 50 will go on to the lucrative DP World Tour Championship, which begins on 17 November.
Some will be grateful that the Dom Pedro track doesn’t seem too demanding, and the open nature of this resort course lends itself to an average winning score of about 20-under over the past five year.
They will need to putt well but they will be able to play aggressively on a course that is able to call on the defense of the wind.
Past winners such as Padraig Hrrington, Tom Lewis (twice), George Coetzee and Lucas Bjerregaard, Shane Lowry, and even Alvaro Quiros all point to the form of those from Qatar, Dubai and Sicily, Morocco, and Dunhill Links. Let them go and you’ll see who rolls the most rock.
Nicolai Hojgaard 20/1 Win
This year, twins are the theme for the DP World Tour.
We have not only the Danes who are now winners of five tournaments at this level between them, but Yannik Paul is now the first German duo to win any major tour. He beat Nicolai by six shots and Rasmus by eight shots, respectively.
Even though Rasmus and fellow withdrawal Thomas Pieters went wrong on Sunday, they were able to make it to the finale. This leaves his brother to show the best wager of the week, and propel himself from a current position of 67th.
Nic’s second win at Ras Al Khaimah was after two missed cuts. His dominant maiden win in Italy was after a T21 at Hillside links track and 17th at the Czech Masters. He was in the top-10 going into payday.
Spookily, it is Halloween afterall. Current form is 37th at Valderrama. This course should not suit but could be called linksy tricky at push. Last weekend’s 16th was followed by the 16th. He was once again at the top of the leaderboard going into payday.
He finished in the Top-10 on the tee last week, with a putting average of the top-five. This is a great combination for a challenge very similar to the one he faced at Marco Simone Club where he was in the lead off the tee, and in tee–to-green.
The 21-year old was fourth in last season’s finale and will be eager to join his brother in the elite field.
Nicolai finished last year as runner-up in five categories: Nicolai was 12th in approaches, fifth on the tee and second in tee to green. Nicolai also finished top-15 in putting. All of this looks like it’s preparing for a similar attack and could be rewarded.
Tom Lewis 45/1 Win/Top-5/Top-10
Eddie Pepperell is the number one listing for the numbers formula. I have to mention him. I hope he doesn’t nick it as much last week’s listing number 1, Kurt Kitayama.
He is too preoccupied with the LIV tour on twitter, so he is now just leaving in favor of Tom Lewis . This is named after an excellent course form and some sly figures.
Portugal repeats a lot. Many regular competitors (including Pepperell), have posted two, three, or more top-10 finishes. Nobody can beat 2020 winner George Coetzee. His Dom Pedro record includes a win, five top-10s and two top-20 finishes in 12 starts. However, the Englishman is the only one to have won twice here. This is especially true since he won this event on his third professional start.
Although he seemed like he would reach the top, the 31 year-old has probably not helped himself in the past couple years. He has been flitting among the Korn Ferry Tours and PGA Tours along with his home events, though it is obvious which tournaments he attended through 2019 and 2020.
He won the 2019 KFT Tour Championship by five strokes, but the best of the rest include ninth at Abu Dhabi and third at Saudi. 11th at The Open. Fifth at the Dunhill Links. Eighth here. A tied-13th and sixth through the same two final events that he would have faced here. He is actually 152nd in the rankings. It would take a miracle for him to keep his card. But if he does show anything, it will be here.
The Florida resident can be difficult to read. He was runner-up at St. Jude 2020 to Justin Thomas. However, he has already shown that he is willing to compete in the shorter Czech event as well as top-16s in Denmark (and Italy) when the conditions are right.
Over the last three months, Lewis ranks top-30 for ball-striking for the tour, 16th in greens-in-regulation, and 35th for scrambling, whilst last week in Mallorca, he was top-15 in tee-to-green and led the around-the-green stats.
The 2011 and 2018 champions are often wild from the tee box. If anyone can prove that there is something behind “Horses for Courses”, it should be the former junior star.
Jeff Winther Win/Top-10/Top-20
This market segment is difficult to divide.
Last week was a busy one for Dale Whitnell and Janewattanond. But, even though the Austrian is exempt from the rule after his victory in Mallorca, he will be happy to get up within the top-90. This comes after an impressive defense of his title, and his best finish of this year.
Winther’s 2016 Tshwane open 2016 runner-up to Charl Schwartzzel reads well, given that Coetzee won the event twice. Top-10s in Abu, Qatar and in the Czech Republic also point to the track’s suitability.
Unfortunately, the 34-year old has failed to click at the Dom Pedro, missing the cut three times in his four starts. This was the same year as his breakthrough at this level.
The Austrian’s game is not particularly impressive. He is stable, precise, and putsts well. He found over four green shots in Denmark, seven in France and almost three last week. These last two may suggest that he is struggling more, but he shot two rounds at 62 last year when he recorded a 15-under total in Santa Ponsa. Conditions should be similar this week.
Winther is a market player who finds it difficult to win. He has four rounds in the 60s this week, which suggests that he is close to his best and should be able to secure a top-10 finish.