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George Coetzee is aiming to extend his winning streak to three weeks and go back-to-back in Portugal when he tees it up at the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos.
The South African was pleased with every part of his game as he won his fifth European Tour title at the Portugal Masters on Sunday, following on from his 11th Sunshine Tour victory at his home course in Pretoria the previous week.
The Open de Portugal is being played on the Seve Ballesteros designed layout at Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort for the first time and while Coetzee is making his debut in the event, the venue is far more familiar to local star Ricardo Gouveia.
Despite the lack of home fans to spur him on as the event goes ahead behind closed doors in accordance with the European Tour’s stringent Health Strategy, the three-time European Challenge Tour winner is confident that he will not lack motivation to shine on home turf.
The Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos returns to the Race to Dubai schedule for the first time since 2017 as a dual ranking event with the European Challenge Tour, and Julian Suri is hoping to go one better than he did three years ago at Morgado Golf Resort.
The American finished second to Matt Wallace on that occasion, as the Englishman claimed his first European Tour victory. It was also a notable year for Suri, who earned his own maiden title in Denmark a few months later, and played his way into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and he’s hoping to kick start another climb this week.
“After Friday’s round of golf, I think we were seven shots behind, so I wasn’t really happy or feeling like we had any real chance of making a run at the event. I did kind of get my head into a better space that evening I felt, and after that it was just going with the flow.
“New week, new golf course. It’s not a golf course I know so I’m just checking it out now for the first time, but I’m really enjoying it. Hopefully I’ll have some more of the Portuguese magic this week and pull off another one, but I guess that’s golf, you never know.”
Ricardo Gouveia: “I love playing at home. Unfortunately, there are no crowds last week or this week, but I just feel good being here and playing at home. I’ll just focus on my own goals. I’ll have goals for every round and motivate myself with those.
“I’ve played here once or twice and the course suits my game. It has a lot of long irons so you need to be accurate with those ones. I’m feeling good about the game and looking forward to the week.
“I played solid last week. I felt like I left a lot out there. I felt the scores didn’t really show my game, but it’s trending in the right direction. I’m finally playing some better golf.”
Julian Suri: “It was a different course back in 2017 but I love this area. Always good food and good weather out here – knock on wood – so I’m hoping for more of the same and more birdies too.
“My performance at the Portugal Masters was OK. It wasn’t anything amazing result-wise but I feel like my game is really trending in the right direction.
“Obviously I’m looking for a result (this week). I’m looking to get my world ranking up, get my Race to Dubai position up and just get in contention. It’s been a bit of a while for me, I was out with an injury at the beginning of the year and then the lockdown stuff. I want to get the juices flowing a little bit.”