European Tour: What We Learned at the Portugal Masters

October 19, 2015

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.