Open de Portugal golf betting preview and tips

Ricardo Gouveia

Our tipster David John has found his "best golf bet of the year so far" ahead of this week's Open de Portugal.

Recommended bets: Open de Portugal

3pts e.w. Ricardo Gouveia at 25/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - rapid improver with bags of class and looks a fantastic bet on home soil 

1pt e.w. Laurie Canter at 55/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - quite eyecatching form in the early part of 2017 and fair chance to post a high finish

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The Portugal Masters has become a popular and lucrative end-of-season event for the players on the European Tour but it is seven years since we last saw an Open de Portugal.

The tournament has been revamped on a pretty low-key footing and is co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour at Morgado Golf Resort, a very short-looking track by modern standards (just 6,400 yards) with plenty of room from the tee.

The field is not particularly strong and a good chance for the second tier in Europe to tackle a decent pot but the player who sticks out by a mile at the prices is Ricardo Gouveia.

He actually represents the best golf bet of the year so far to me as he attempts to give the galleries a home winner around a course he will have some sort of edge on having played here plenty of times growing up on the Algarve.

I put him up a couple of weeks ago for the Shenzhen International and although he never troubled the judge, the form he showed in stroke play events both there and the following week at the Volvo China Open should have put him spot on for a tournament he will have targeted when the schedule came out.

He and Jose-Filipe Lima then took part last weekend in the GolfSixes and reached the knockout phase – I was actually quietly pleased to see Portugal eliminated on Sunday in the quarter-finals by Scotland as going any further may have brought that little bit of additional unwanted attention to his prospects here.

On that front, the nature of this field lends itself to being a wide-open heat but how Gouveia is not trading at half the current price available is staggering.

He absolutely tore it up in 2015 on the Challenge Tour and his first full season last year on the European Tour was one of steady improvement, finishing with a T3 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge before playing at the DP World Championship.

Ask anyone on Tour and they all say the same thing – it takes time to adjust stepping up from the lower level and I expect Gouveia with that touch of star quality to win this year as he begins to get more and more comfortable with his surroundings.

This represents an outstanding early opportunity to get across the line and while there is some extra pressure on him to deliver the goods in his national open, Gouveia admitted at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura last autumn he gets a real thrill playing in front of friends and family. 

All-in-all, I could not be more positive about a main selection considering it is a sport notorious for things going awry on a regular basis but this guy is a serious contender for top honours.

Euro veterans Robert Rock and Paul Lawrie are among the market leaders and obviously won’t lack for a bit of savvy while Trevor Fisher Jr is favourite based on some fair form already in 2017 which includes top 10 last time in Morocco. 

Being so strong on the chances of Gouveia, I am just going to add one more selection and that is England’s Laurie Canter. 

The 27-year-old enjoyed a solid amateur career half-a-dozen years or so ago and got himself a spot on the European Tour in 2016 via the Qualifying School but needed to return to the latter once more at the end of campaign.

He successfully emerged once again from PGA Catalunya and knows the experience he had throughout the year was time well spent, admitting he feels much more comfortable this time around.

“I know what to expect from a week of golf this year,” Canter said in relation to not only playing but also the travelling and living out of a suitcase in hotel rooms.

“I am motivated to get off to a good start.”

The latter ambition seems to have been reflected in his results after spending the winter working hard in both Dallas and Dubai with a couple of top-20 finishes in South Africa and a reasonable T34 last time in Morocco.

That reprsents a solid foundation as Canter also revealed he feels his putting has improved tremendously over the last six to nine months and actually considers it could become one of the strengths of his game moving forward. 

If he can continue on an upward curve in that area then he has a sound chance of a very good week on what will be an easier course than usually set up at this level.

Posted at 1335 BST on 08/05/17. 

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