Thomas Aiken last won the European Tour in 2014 and will be salivating at the thought of a fourth title when he begins the Portugal Masters on Thursday.
At 73rd in the Race to Dubai he’ll need good results to make the Finals Series, but his recent share of 33rd place at the British Masters will go a long way to boosting the confidence.
Also on his side is a good track record at Victoria Clube de Golfe, host of this week’s €2-million tournament, the penultimate event before the regular season ends.
Last year Aiken shot a first round of 65 at the seaside Portuguese course on his way to a share of 25th place, and a year prior he shared 12th place after the tournament was reduced to 36 holes due to intense rainstorms.
The 33-year-old won his PGA Tour card and has spent most of the year competing in the USA. His hold on 73rd in the Race to Dubai is impressive, considering he’s only played six events on the European Tour this season.
He returns needing one last push.
Also in the mix is Justin Walters, who was sole second the Portugal Masters in 2013, one shot behind winner David Lynn.
Walters ranks 98th in the Race to Dubai and also needs to play his way into the Finals Series, which includes the Nedbank Golf Challenge for the first time this year.
The South African also tied for 33rd at the British Masters last week and his fond memories of Portugal will be a useful tool in his hunt for glory.