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Posted by portugalpress on September 12, 2017
Thomas Pieters from Belgium is returning to Portugal for the fourth year in a row

Since last year’s 10th anniversary edition of the Portugal Masters, the Dom Pedro Golf Group has acquired the tournament’s prestigious venue, Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura. With the competition moved to September and a magnificent prize-fund of €2,000,000 at stake, the 2017 event is on the threshold of an exciting new chapter in its history.

A field of 156 top golfers will compete for this year’s crown from September 21 to 24 and a host of stars have been lining up to say why the Portugal Masters is such a special event in the golfing calendar.

This year’s tournament features a record number of Portuguese players as three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington defends his title and aims to become the tournament’s first two-time winner: “Last year I was pleased to add the title to my list of tournament victories. It's an event I’m very much looking forward to.”

Englishman Andy Sullivan, victorious in 2015 and last year’s runner-up, also has sights set for victory at a tournament he describes as having “fantastic memories” for him.

Shane Lowry, whose 2012 triumph secured the Irishman’s place as only the second player to win European Tour titles as both amateur and a professional, recently confirmed that the event also holds special personal significance: “I was over the moon to get my first professional win at such a prestigious event.”

The world class field also includes multiple European Tour winners, Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters from Belgium.

Pieters is the three-time European Tour winner who made history at Hazeltine as the first European Ryder Cup rookie to win four points after competing in every match and he is relishing the prospect of the 2017 Masters: “This will be the fourth year in a row for me in Portugal and it’s a place that I always enjoy coming back to.”

Fitzpatrick, who makes his Portugal Masters debut following a stellar 2016 campaign including victories at the Nordea Masters and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to add to his maiden title at the 2015 British Masters, also reveals undeniable enthusiasm: “I’m excited to be playing at the Portugal Masters for the first time and I’m looking forward to a great week in Vilamoura.”

Another leading contender is Danny Willett, the first English golfer since Sir Nick Faldo to wear the Green Jacket after his victory at Augusta National last year, who returns for the first time since the 2014 edition.

A strong home challenge this year reaches double figures for the first time with eleven Portuguese players set to compete. European Tour pros Ricardo Melo Gouveia, Filipe Lima and Ricardo Santos lead the charge while top Portuguese amateurs Tomás Gouveia and Vitor Lopes are also determined to make their mark.

With such a galaxy of international stars lined up for the 2017 Portugal Masters, top quality golf is assured as the new owners of the magnificent Dom Pedro Victoria Golf course herald an exciting new chapter in the illustrious history of this renowned golfing spectacular.

By TOM CALLAN

Photos: GETTY IMAGES

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