Oliver Fisher back at scene of 59 – and last chance saloon

Oliver Fisher plays a bunker shot during the pro-am at the Portugal Masters. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty
Oliver Fisher plays a bunker shot during the pro-am at the Portugal Masters. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty
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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.

Oliver Fisher broke the magical 60 barrier with ten birdies and an eagle in his second round of the Portugal Masters last year, the Englishman going on to finish seventh behind compatriot 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.

“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-ten finish this season came in Malaysia in March. “There’s a bit of added pressure on it.

“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.”

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,” the 41-year-old from Southport said.

“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.”

Jack Singh Brar currently occupies the crucial 117th position on the Race to Dubai, just 0.7 points ahead of Ireland’s Paul Dunne, who won the British Masters in 2017 but has missed the cut in 11 of his last 13 events.