Defending champion David Lynn is looking for some inspiration as he returns to the scene of his last victory. Since winning the Portugal Masters at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Club in Vilamoura 12 months ago the 40-year-old's best finish was joint-21st at the Omega European Masters a month ago.
Lynn has juggled events on both sides of the Atlantic this season and that has contributed to him not performing consistently on either tour but he hopes familiar territory will help give him a kick-start.
“You see the shots you were hitting last year and relive those moments,” he told European Tour radio. “I am hoping there is going to be some sort of inspiration again to get me going this week.
“I suppose there is a little bit of extra pressure (as defending champion) but every week comes with its own pressure as you put pressure on yourself to perform week in, week out so I’d like to perform again this week.
“I’ve not played an awful lot of golf this year, it is my 13th event in Europe so it is to be expected to find myself down the Order of Merit (he is 108th).
“But this week if I can find a bit of inspiration from last year and crack on who knows, maybe I could go back to back (for wins).”
Italian Francesco Molinari is another searching for some form on a course he has performed well on in the past, having never finished worse than 38th in seven appearances and being runner-up in 2009 and 2010.
“I feel I’ve been playing okay all year but not getting the scores I’d like, so it’s time to push on and to try to have a good, strong finish to the year,” said the 31-year-old, who has missed only two cuts on the European Tour but has recorded just two top-ten finishes.
“That’s what I’m going to try to do from this week onwards.”
Three-time major winner Pádraig Harrington, double Masters champion José Maria Olazabal and former Open champions Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke are in the field this week, as is last week's winner of the Dunhill Links, Oliver Wilson.
Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey, Simon Thornton, Damien McrGrane, Gareth Maybin, Peter Lawrie, Kevin Phelan and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley are also involved this weekend.
While the European Tour, unlike its American counterpart, has yet to start the new season there are already some changes afoot on the 2015 schedule after Volvo announced they were ending their sponsorship of two major events, the World Match Play Championship - which this year takes place at The London Club next week - and the South African-based Golf Champions event.
“Focus will turn to one of the brand’s key markets - China. The programme around the Volvo China Open with its 20 years’ history will be enhanced further, with a new five-year agreement in place,” said a statement from Volvo.
Following the announcement Keith Waters, European Tour chief operating officer, said: “We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Volvo for their superb support over the past 27 years, and we look forward to continuing our association with them through the Volvo China Open.
"We anticipate releasing the initial sector of The 2015 European Tour International Schedule next week, and the full schedule of tournaments will be published next month during the week of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai."