Coetzee ready for Portugal Masters defence

The 35-year-old won his fifth European Tour title at this event last year, but it was his first success on European soil, with his four previous victories all coming on his home continent.

Coetzee kept his nerve on the final day last year as he carded his third round of 66 that week to finish two strokes ahead of Englishman Laurie Canter.

Also looking forward to teeing it up on Portuguese soil again is England’s Matt Wallace, who is riding high after his T4 finish at the ZOZO Championship on the PGA TOUR a fortnight ago. Wallace won the first of his four European Tour titles at the Open de Portugal in 2017. Scotsman Robert MacIntyre is also in the field this week, making his tournament debut as he bids for a second European Tour title.

This week also marks the end of Peter Hanson’s final full season on the European Tour. The Swede, who represented Europe twice at the Ryder Cup and won six times on Tour, will call time on his career in 2022 when he plans to make his final appearance on home soil.

Player Quotes

George Coetzee: “I’m very happy to be back and excited to play the golf course again. As I walk, I can’t remember every hole from last year but it also comes with a bit of expectation and I’m just trying to dampen it down a little bit and just try and play golf.

“I know I’ve just to play golf and try and avoid thinking about all the other stuff and just try and find my flow and enjoy the golf again. My fondest memory is the tee shot on 18. I keep thinking – birdie on 16 and 17 last year was quite big but it’s not like I was trying to birdie them, I was just playing golf and I think that’s kind of the point to the whole purpose.”

Matt Wallace: “I’m feeling good. I’ve played nicely the last couple of tournaments, so I’m coming here full of confidence.

“It’s frustrating (at the ZOZO), when you put yourself in position to do that, Saturday was a bit of a grind. Sunday was more disappointing on the back nine, I just didn’t play well enough coming down the stretch. Maybe a bit tired, a bit of jetlag caught up with me. I sorted that out, I hit some balls last week and I’m ready to go this week on a course that I like. I love the area, the hotel. Hopefully the sun can come out for us. It’s a little later in the year for us, but hopefully the weather will be good this week.”

Robert MacIntyre: “I’m feeling great. I had a couple of weeks off, been doing some practice and changed a few things. I’m really looking forward to it, hopefully the weather stays sunny.

“I’ve been playing great. I’m just getting nothing from my golf and Valderrama is one of the biggest places for that – where you can play well and be beaten up. I’m in good spirits, my game feels good and it’s just about putting it all together.

“It’s a good course. I enjoy this style of golf. But the back nine is probably the bigger test where you can get caught out more. It’s a good track. I’m just ready to get going.”

Peter Hanson: “It’s always hard to know when to call it, but I’ve always wanted to play this game and be competitive. I feel that it’s getting closer to that point where you start to think about making cuts instead of trying to win events, it feels like it’s the right decision to be made, finishing off this year. It’s been hard with Covid and a few injuries, I’ve been trying to keep playing and keep myself in the game, why not down here? It’s towards the end of the year, a beautiful place, I’ve never won here but had a few close calls. It’s nice to be back in Vilamoura and I’ll try to give it my best shot this week.


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