England’s Andy Sullivan won the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Golf Club by a record margin over his countryman Chris Wood. It was his third European Tour title of 2015.
Andy Sullivan led the tournament from the first round after he opened with a 64. He never relinquished his position at the top of the leaderboard, following up with second and third rounds of 64 and 67.
In the final round, Sullivan was never challenged. In fact, he extended his advantage as his closest pursuers, Chris Wood and Eduardo De La Riva, dropped shots early in the front nine. Sullivan birdied the 4th and 5th holes to go even further clear.
De La Riva struck back with two birdies of his own, but he fell away with dropped shots at the 9th, 10th and 12th holes and his challenge was over.
Sullivan was steady on the back nine and finished with a flourish with birdies at the last two holes. In the end he signed for a 66 and an astonishing nine shot victory.
4 Talking points from the Portugal Masters
1 – This was Andy Sullivan’s third European Tour title of 2015. He also earned victory in the South African Open Championship and the Joburg Open. He has now climbed to 47th on the Official World Golf Ranking. If he can hold his place in the top-50 to the end of the year, he’ll secure an invite to next year’s Masters. His winning total of 261 was the lowest in the history of the Portugal Masters and his winning margin of nine shots was the largest of the 2015 season.
“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.”
Andy Sullivan on how to play in a crosswind:
2 – If the winner was a sealed deal, the battle for second place was more intense. Chris Wood of England put himself in position with birdies at the 11th and 12th holes, but Jorge Campillo and Eduardo De La Riva of Spain and South Africa’s Trevor Fisher Jnr were also in contention. Campillo dropped back with a double at the 17th and Fisher dropped two shots on the 15th. In the end it was Wood who took the runner’s-up spot, but that was only after Eduardo De La Riva bogeyed the last hole. If Sullivan hadn’t been playing, it would have been a tense finish.
3 – It was an important week for Scotland’s Craig Lee. He finished in a share of sixth place and picked up €60,000. Those earnings moved him from 120th place on the Race to Dubai up to 104th. The top 110 on the rankings after next week’s Hong Kong Open will retain playing rights on the circuit for 2016.
“It will make Hong Kong a little bit easier now,” he said. “Not needing a top 15 or top 10 is going to make life a little bit easier. But there’s still a lot of pressure on but nice to be coming off a high going into next week, as opposed to finishing badly and trying to pick yourself up.”
4 – Stephen Gallacher finished in a tie for ninth and picked up €35,457. Given the size of prize funds on offer these days, it may not sound significant. But it was just enough to push him into 60th spot on the Race to Dubai Rankings. The top-60 will qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The Scot will have to play well over the next few weeks to secure his place in that event. Trevor Fisher Jnr who finished third in Portugal is just 20,000 points behind in 61st.
Oceanico Victoria GC
Purse: €2,000,000, par 71
1 Andy Sullivan (Eng) 64 64 67 66 261 €333,330
2 Chris Wood (Eng) 68 69 65 68 270 €222,220
T3 Eduardo De La Riva (Esp) 65 67 68 71 271 €103,333
T3 Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA) 66 68 70 67 271 €103,333
T3 Anthony Wall (Eng) 69 64 72 66 271 €103,333
T6 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 66 69 67 70 272 €60,000
T6 Craig Lee (Sco) 67 71 69 65 272 €60,000
T6 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 65 66 72 69 272 €60,000
T9 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 72 69 66 66 273 €35,457
T9 Edouard Espana (Fra) 70 67 69 67 273 €35,457
T9 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 67 71 68 67 273 €35,457
T9 Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 69 69 69 66 273 €35,457
T9 Garth Mulroy (RSA) 69 67 70 67 273 €35,457
T9 Bernd Ritthammer (Ger) 69 66 73 65 273 €35,457
T9 Robert Rock (Eng) 70 67 70 66 273 €35,457
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage