Nicolai Hojgaard targets Portugal Masters victory

Nicolai Hojgaard is hoping to improve on his runner-up finish at the Portugal Masters this week.

The 21-year-old Dane finished in a tie for second place on the Dom Pedro Victoria course in Vilamoura behind Belgium's Thomas Pieters last year and is determined to build upon his first three days at last week's Mallorca Open, where a final-round 74 saw him slip off the pace.

He told the DP World Tour's official website: "I'm definitely giving my all at the moment trying to get into Dubai.

"This week is a good week, I have had good experiences here. I have played a couple of years and last year was really good. I got close last year.

"I like this course, off the tee it suits me and the visual of it I really enjoy, so hopefully I can build on last year's performance this week and do something similar.

"But obviously, we'll take it one shot at a time and one day at a time and then hopefully Sunday, we will be there."

Hojgaard, who won at Ras Al Khaimah Championship in February, currently sits in 67th place in the DP World Tour rankings with spots in Dubai going to the top 50 available players.

He will hope to improve upon that if he can harness the form which got him off to such a good start at the Son Muntaner Golf Club.

He carded rounds of 68, 69 and 64 in Palma to set himself up for Sunday, but was unable to maintain that momentum.

He said: "I'm definitely looking and focusing on the positives from last week. I played the first three rounds really well."

Hojgaard is due on the first tee at 8.30am on Thursday in a three-ball with Frenchman Victor Perez and Scotland's Robert MacIntyre.

He will be followed 10 minutes later by Mallorca winner Yannik Paul of Germany, England's Matt Wallace and Italian Edoardo Molinari.

Maiden winner Paul said: "I'm excited. I want to play well, keep that momentum going and I think playing against the best players in the world over the next few weeks, I'm excited.

"It came at the perfect time. Winning always stands above everything, you want to win tournaments. It's what you practise for."

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