Scotland's Grant Forrest and Ireland's Ruaidhri McGee will look to take advantage of the absence of Europe's biggest stars after earning their place in the Open de Portugal.

While 48 of the world's top 50 are among the field for the £8million Players Championship at Sawgrass, Forrest and McGee will compete for a prize fund of just £420,000 at Morgado Golf Resort.

However, with a valuable European Tour exemption also up for grabs in an event co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour, both men will be keen to continue their good form after top-five finishes in the Turkish Airlines Challenge secured their spot in the field. They are 20/1 and 30/1 respectively to be placed in the top five again.

"I'm definitely feeling confident after Turkey," said Forrest, 23, who was part of the victorious 2015 Walker Cup team and is 100/1 for the title. "I had a top five there and didn't feel like I putted all that well, so it's good to know I can compete at this level and there are a lot of positives to take going forward. 

"It's changed my outlook for the year because I don't have a very good category and am slightly relying on invites so if I can get a few really good finishes it's a big boost and two or three good weeks can then change everything for the rest of the season.”

McGee made the most of a sponsor's invite to finish fourth in Turkey in his first Challenge Tour event of the season and the 26-year-old is hoping to use some "local knowledge" to his advantage in Portimao.

"I've been down here for a bit of the winter practising so I know the courses and the surrounding area pretty well," said McGee, a 150/1 shot for the title. "It's really handy to get here from home, the weather is great and the people here are also really friendly, so it is a great place to come over the winter.

"I think this event is a bigger event but you can't treat it any differently," he said. "You've got to go in the same way and just do what you do normally - that's play golf."

Ricardo Gouveia is the 12/1 favourite with Trevor Fisher Jr at 20/1, Paul Lawrie 25/1, Pep Angles 28/1 and Aaron Rai 30/1.

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