Andy Sullivan of England finished nine shots ahead of his countryman Chris Wood to win the Portugal Masters Sunday at Oceanico Golf Club by a record margin.
The Englishman led the tournament from pillar to post, opening with two outstanding rounds of 64 and following up with 67-66. His winning total of 23-under par was the lowest in the history of the tournament.
Sullivan was never challenged in the final round and he went mistake-free as his nearest pursuers failed to make up any ground.
“I didn’t take too many risks and just played within myself,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable. To go bogey-free today was incredible.”
Chris Wood ended the week tied for a distant second with three players: Eduardo De La Riva of Spain, South Africa’s Trevor Fisher Jnr and Anthony Wall of England tied for third place.
Four things we learned at the Portugal Masters:
1. With this victory, Andy Sullivan has become the first player to win three titles on the 2015 European Tour. Earlier in the season he enjoyed two successes in South Africa: The South African Open Championship and the Joburg Open. He has now climbed into the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking and has a realistic chance of earning an invitation to next year’s Masters.
2. It would have been quite a tournament had Sullivan not been in the field. Chris Wood, Jorge Campillo, Eduardo De La Riva and Trevor Fisher, Jr. had quite a battle for second place. Campillo double bogeyed the 17th to spoil his chances and Fisher suffered a double at the 15th that cost him the runner’s up spot. De La Riva was tied with Wood until a bogey at the home hole gifted the Englishman solo second.
3. Craig Lee of Scotland left Portugal feeling a good deal more relaxed than when he arrived. In finishing tied for sixth he earned €60,000 and climbed from 120th to 104th place on the Race to Dubai rankings. The top-110 after next week’s Hong Kong Open will earn a card for next season. Lee will still need a reasonable showing in Hong Kong to secure his playing rights for 2016, but it looks like he has already done enough. “It’ll certainly make Hong Kong a little easier,” he said.
4. Another battle still raging on the European Tour is the one to make the top-60 on the Race to Dubai and so qualify for the lucrative, season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Another Scot, Stephen Gallacher, has moved into 60th place following a tied ninth place finish in Portugal. But with the Tour’s Final Series approaching, there’s still time for those on the wrong side of the bubble to force their way in.