Fisher, the man with the magic 59, has mixed feelings before Portugal Masters
Last-chance saloon for players battling to keep their playing rights for next season, including Ireland’s Dunne and Moynihan
Jeff Winther of Denmark plays a shot during a children’s coaching event at the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria golf course in Quarteira. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty Images
The scene of the first 59 in European Tour history has become the last-chance saloon for players battling to keep their playing rights for next season, including Ireland’s Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan.
Oliver Fisher broke the magical 60 barrier with 10 birdies and an eagle in his second round of the Portugal Masters last year, the Englishman going on to finish seventh behind fellow Englishman Tom Lewis, who lifted the title for the second time following a seven-year gap.
And while Lewis begins the week safely inside the top 50 on the Race to Dubai, Fisher is ranked 112th with only the top 117 on Sunday earning full playing privileges for the 2019-2020 campaign. Dunne is 118th on the list, with Moynihan 140th.
“The previous years have been similar to this year. I need a decent enough week to secure my playing rights for next year,” said Fisher, whose sole top-10 finish this season came in Malaysia in March. “There’s a bit of added pressure on it which means a lot.
“There are mixed feelings in terms of what to expect and my own goals this week. It’s nice to come back to a place where people are talking about something I’ve done. It’s nice to walk around and think I’ve hit some good shots around here and had some good rounds.
“My own expectations are to go out and do my best and enjoy that. My dad is out, a couple of friends too. My wife can’t be here unfortunately, she’s just had a baby and they’re at home. I’m looking forward to a nice week to end the season and put my feet up a little bit.”
England’s Lee Slattery is 115th on the money list but the two-time European Tour winner is hoping his experience of the situation will pay dividends.
“I’ve been in this position before a couple of times, so I’ve kind of experienced it. I’ve come into this week quite relaxed really,” said the 41-year-old from Southport. “I always think that good golf is the winner in the end, no matter where your ranking is at the end of the year. You have just got to play good golf and that’s it.
“For a lot of the young lads that are in this position who have just got out here, it is more important. But it is such an enjoyable week, and I’m just going to try and enjoy it. It’s usually a relaxed week, and I will try and keep it that way.”
Jack Singh Brar currently occupies the crucial 117th position on the Race to Dubai, just 0.7 points ahead of Dunne, who won the British Masters in 2017 but has missed the cut in 11 of his last 13 events.