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Portugal Masters report

Brown seals card with first European Tour win

Steven Brown secured his first professional victory and 2020 European Tour card with a dramatic victory at the Portugal Masters
 

Portugal Masters report: What happened at Dom Pedro?

Steven Brown came out on top in Portugal to claim his first professional title with a score of 17 under. The Englishman came into the week at 150th in the Race to Dubai standings knowing that he needed at least a solo third finish to seal his card.

With the victory he moves up almost 100 spots to 69th and qualifies for the Turkish Airlines Open which is also a Rolex Series event.

After playing 62 rounds on the European Tour prior to this week, Brown had failed to break the 68 mark but that all changed at Dom Pedro.

He opened with a 69 and followed that up with a 67 on Friday and a brilliant 65 on Saturday really put a shot at victory into the picture.

To close out the week he carded a 66 which was good enough for a one-shot victory over 54-hole leader Brandon Stone.

The Englishman went bogey free on Sunday and had birdies at the 2nd, 9th and 11th but the highlight came at par-5 12th. With 269 yards left to the pin, Brown pulled out the fairway wood and produced a stroke of brilliance to leave himself a short putt for eagle which he converted to move into second place.

Stone struggled slightly more on Sunday and carded a one-under 70. He had three bogeys and four birdies with the last of these coming as early as the 10th.

Justin Walters had yet another inspiring week at this event. The South African put in a brilliant performance to finish tied for second and jump up the Race to Dubai standings securing his card for next season.

Walters, who recently lost his dad, has endured several challenges in recent years and has overcome them time and again. He recently played the Scottish Open while on crutches due to a severe calf injury but quickly recovered and has been able to make the most of being fit to play.

England’s Jack Singh Brar also secured his card, courtesy of a closing 66 to finish the season in 109th spot.

Oliver Fisher was returning to the site of his historic 59 and finished in a tie for 8th despite shooting 72 on the final day.

Portugal Masters report: Talking point

Away from Portugal history was made on the Challenge Tour this week at the Foshan Open in China as Zheng-Kai Bai became the first Chinese player to win on the tour.

Bai, also known as Bobby, is 22-years-old and carded a final round of 65 to clinch his first title on 23-under with a four-shot margin over fellow countryman Zecheng Dou.

He opened his week with a 71 but really fired himself into contention on Friday when he recorded a new course record, a nine-under 63.

A Saturday 66 in addition to his impressive closing round saw him take home the title in his home country.

Bai is not officially a member of the Challenge Tour and does not receive any Road to Mallorca points for the victory but does have a place in the upcoming WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

He said: “Becoming the first Chinese player to win the Foshan Open is unbelievable. I’ve had a great week and I’m very happy. All the Europeans are good players and it just feels amazing to win this tournament. I’m honoured to become the first Chinese player to win on the Challenge Tour.”

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

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