Belgian Thomas Pieters has fired a three-under-par 68 in the final round of the Portugal Masters to clinch the title by two strokes for his fifth European Tour crown.
The 29-year-old came into the final round on Sunday at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura sharing the lead with France’s Matthieu Pavon, but began with a bogey on the first hole before recovering with an eagle on the fifth.
He carded birdies before and after the turn and followed that up with another bogey, but gained a stroke on the penultimate hole before finishing 19-under for the tournament.
Pavon had three birdies on the front nine, but disaster struck on the 12th with a triple bogey as he found water three times. He had to settle for a 70 and share second place with Danes Lucas Bjerregaard and Nicolai Hojgaard at 17-under overall.
Australia’s Min-Woo Lee shot 66 to finish level eighth on 11 under.
Victory took Pieters back into the world’s top 100 and secured his spot in the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai.
“It feels amazing,” said the former Ryder Cup player, who last captured a title at the 2019 Czech Masters. “It felt like a long time between victories but (caddie) Adam Marrow and I worked so hard and it felt like a deserved one.
“”It does (feel like a long time),” he said. “Two years is a long time. I’ve had a child in the meantime, who talks and runs around, it does feel like a long time.
“I was going into this week and next week with my back to the wall. I had nothing to lose but everything to gain.
“I’ve never missed the end of the Race to Dubai and really didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t care if I finished first, second or third. I just wanted to get there, but winning is amazing.”
Victory took the former Ryder Cup player back into the world’s top 100 and secured his spot in the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai.