Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters is set to wow the crowds at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course after committing to the Portugal Masters, which celebrates its tenth anniversary from October 20-23.
Pieters became the most successful European Ryder Cup rookie in history when he won four points last week, and the big-hitting Belgian will hope to continue his blistering form when he makes his fourth appearance in the Portugal Masters.
Having finished in a tie for sixth place 12 months ago, and with confidence buoyed by his stellar performance at Hazeltine National, Pieters will head to Vilamoura with genuine belief that a fourth European Tour title is well within his grasp.
He said: “The course sets up well for me, I played pretty well there last year so hopefully I can have another good week. I’m obviously going there to win, and it’s a title I’d love to take home.
“The course can play quite long, which probably plays into my hands because not everyone can cut the corners or carry the bunkers from the tee. I know the course so well that I can almost play on autopilot, and after finishing sixth last year I’ll be disappointed if I can’t challenge again this time.”
But it is not just the prospect of winning that persuaded one of the game’s rising stars to commit – it is also the multi-faceted appeal of a tournament which has become one of the most popular stops on the European Tour.
A combination of a five-star hotel on site, a perfectly-manicured course designed by the late, great Arnold Palmer, and the proximity of the marina in Vilamoura with its array of bars and restaurants, all contribute to the event’s continued appeal.
Pieters said: “I absolutely love the place. It’ll be my third year in a row, and I also played it once as an amateur, so it’s definitely one of my favourite stops on the Tour. I love the vibe, the course is great, the weather is usually good and the town is also really nice, so it ticks a lot of boxes for me.
It’s not a holiday but it does feel like one, especially if the sun is shining, so I’m really looking forward to going back.”
Pieters will be joined in the Algarve by his Ryder Cup team-mate and defending champion Andy Sullivan, who romped to victory by nine shots last year.