Everything You Need to Know About Last Week in the European Tour
Alexander Levy claimed his second European Tour title at the weather-affected Portugal Masters after the tournament was abandoned during a stormy Sunday on the Algarve.
The Frenchman – winner of the Volvo China Open earlier this season – completed 36 holes in an impressive 18-under-par at Oceanico Victoria Golf Club, and did so without dropping a single shot.
European Tour authorities had already decided to reduce the event to 54 holes and were forced to call a halt to proceedings after a further deluge on Sunday rendered the course unplayable. At that time, Levy and playing partners Nicolas Colsaerts and Felipe Aguilar had completed just one hole of their third and final rounds.
As such, Levy was declared victorious, with the big-hitting Belgian finishing three shots back on 15-under-par and Chile’s Aguilar a further two strokes behind in third place.
“It feels very special,” said the 24-year-old. “If at the start of the year you’d have said I’d win two tournaments, I’d have said ‘never!’ to you.”
Alexander the Great
With this victory, Levy has moved into the world’s top 75 for the first time and become the first Frenchman to win multiple times on the European Tour during the same season. What’s more, he’s taken his season earnings over the €1m mark and progressed to 19th on the Race to Dubai standings. He’s still more than €4m behind Rory McIlroy, though. The Ulsterman has amassed an amazing €5,400,700 already this season.
During the first round, the ‘Belgian Bomber’ Colsaerts came within inches of recording the European Tour’s first 59. After turning in four-under-par 31, the two-time European Tour winner birdied three holes in a row from the 10th before recording eagles at both 15 and 17, but his birdie effort on the daunting par-4 18th slid agonizingly past the cup. Still, Colsaerts is looking back to his best after a period of inauspicious form. His outright second-place finish in Portugal is his best result since his victory at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2012.
Aguilar into top 60
It was also a significant week for Aguilar. The Chilean earned just short of €100,000 for his third-place finish in Portugal – enough to propel him to 56th in the Race to Dubai rankings. Only the top 60 in the standings are eligible for the lucrative season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Madsen back in form
Talented Dane Morten Orum Madsen put his season back on track with a tie for 4th at the Portugal Masters. The 26-year-old claimed his maiden European Tour title at the season-opening South African Open Championship last November before a stretch of 25 tournaments without a top 10. But he compiled rounds of 65 and 66 at Vilamoura to earn €63,700 and move to 54th-place on the Race to Dubai.
The last event to be reduced to 36 holes on the European Tour was the co-sanctioned Madeira Islands Open in April, where England’s Daniel Brooks defeated Scotland’s Scott Henry in a play-off. The tournament was overshadowed by the death of Alastair Forsyth’s caddy Ian McGregor.
There are only two weeks – and three events – left on the regular European Tour schedule. Those non-exempt players languishing outside the top 110 on the Race to Dubai following the conclusion of the Perth International will be forced to return to the final stage of European Tour Q-School this November. The likes of Paul Lawrie, Brett Rumford, Darren Clarke and Peter Hanson are currently outside the top 110.