Portugal Masters: Thomas Pieters wins by two after a spectacular final in Vilamoura | Golf news

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Thomas Pieters finished a frenzied final day of the Portugal Masters as European Tour champion for the fifth time, the Belgian fired a 68 to win his first title in more than two years by two shots.

Last Updated: 11/07/21 6:08 pm


The ups and downs of a dramatic final day at the Portugal Masters, where Thomas Pieters claimed his first European Tour title in more than two years.

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The ups and downs of a dramatic final day at the Portugal Masters, where Thomas Pieters claimed his first European Tour title in more than two years.

The ups and downs of a dramatic final day at the Portugal Masters, where Thomas Pieters claimed his first European Tour title in more than two years.

Thomas Pieters clinched his first European Tour title in more than two years after a tense two-shot victory at the Portuguese Masters in Vilamoura.

A final round of 68 was enough for Pieters to hold on to the Danish duo of Lucas Bjerregaard and Nicolai Hojgaard, as well as overnight joint leader Matthieu Pavon, who seemed poised for his first Tour win until he hit a triple. bogey eight in length 12.

Final leaderboard

Dubai qualifying race

Bjerregaard and Hojgaard kept up the pressure with five birdies apiece in the inward nine, although late mistakes made the task a bit easier for the Belgian, who kept his nerves down the stretch to end his long wait for his fifth win in the tour.

Pieters celebrates after making a pair long putt on the last

Pieters responded from an early bogey with a crucial eagle in the fifth, and matched Pavon’s birdie in the eighth only to see the Frenchman double his lead with his fourth birdie of the final day in the 10th.

But there was a remarkable four-shot swing in the 12th when Pavon lost his composure and two balls in the water, giving Pieters a two-shot lead that was reduced to one when the 2016 Ryder Cup star threw his drive. towards the drink at 14

The 29-year-old did well to limit the damage to a bogey five, and a graceful second to long 17 set up a two-putt birdie that ensured he would have a two-shot lead to knock down the last one.

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And after Hojgaard dropped a shot at 18 and Pavon’s par-five misery continued when he needed six to trade the penultimate hole, Pieters hit a 15-foot closing par that secured his first piece of silver since August 2019. .

“It feels amazing, it felt like a long time between wins,” said excited Pieters, who is expected to return to the top 100 in the world rankings on Monday.

“It’s never easy going down the stage. I saw that one of the Hojgaards was there again. I knew I needed a birdie in one of the last two and that putt in the last was fantastic. I really liked it, the perfect speed and whatnot. nice.

Pieters wants to return to the top 100 in the world

Pieters wants to return to the top 100 in the world

“A 17, that was one of my best five irons. The feeling you get when you hit that shot is incredible, that’s why I play golf. That was the best shot of the day for me, just as I imagined it.”

Pieters came to Vilamoura under pressure to secure a spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship later this month, an event he hasn’t missed since 2014.

“I was going to start this week and next week with my back to the wall,” added Pieters. “I had nothing to lose but a lot to gain. I have never missed the end of the race to Dubai and I really didn’t want to miss out.

“I didn’t care if I finished first, second or third. I just wanted to get there, but winning is incredible.”

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November 11, 2021, 8:00 a.m. M.

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