David Lynn surges to victory in Portugal Masters
Emotional Justin Walters secures Tour card with 40-foot putt at the last for outright second
David Lynn of England hits his second shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria in Faro. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Lynn, whose only previous win in almost 400 events came in the KLM Open in 2004, carded a superb closing 63 to finish 18 under par at Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.
The 39-year-old, who turns 40 next Sunday, started the day six shots off the lead but charged into contention with five birdies in a front nine of 30 and, after a bogey at the 10th, picked up further shots at the 11th, 14th, 15th and 17th to set a clubhouse target that was never matched.
An emotional Justin Walters, who began the week 126th in the Race to Dubai, holed a 40ft par putt on the 18th to claim outright second on 17 under and secure his card for next season, the South African breaking down in tears following the death of his mother two weeks ago.
Ireland’s Simon Thornton began the day two off the lead but was unable to make ground and had to settle for a level par round of 71 to finish on 14 under. David Higgins shot the same score to stay on five under, while Paul McGinley improved to six under with a 70.
Lynn, who struggled to a 73 on Saturday, said: “I was really disappointed when I walked off the course yesterday, I just didn’t hole any putts and made seven at 17 and thought maybe I had played myself out of it. Today was just a case of I’ve got to go out there and make as many birdies as I can. I must admit I was thinking of Scott Jamieson’s 60 (in the third round). If I could do something like that, who knows?
“The wind was up quite a bit today so eight under is a really good score. I really caught fire on the front nine, I was making everything I looked at, although I hit it to one foot at the first which got me off to a really good start. After that I made a couple of great putts for par to keep the momentum going and then I was making the birdie putts.”
Lynn — who began the week 52nd in the world rankings — held a two-shot lead playing the last but admitted his heart was in his mouth as his approach looked set to find the water short of the green. It ended up clearing the hazard by a matter of feet and two putts later he had completed what proved to be the winning round. Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger had been just one behind with two to play but found the water with his second shot to the 17th, where playing partner Walters made his fourth birdie in a row to move to 17 under.
Walters looked certain to drop a shot on the last after finding a fairway bunker with his tee shot, but holed a massive par putt and punched the air in delight before the tears began to flow.
“I don’t know if I can talk much right now,” the 32-year-old from Johannesburg said. “Coming into the week I really didn’t have any goals or ambitions, I just wanted to play and honour my mum and make her proud. The putts kept dropping and I kept hitting some decent shots and the last one at the end, she made it for sure. It was probably the best moment of my career. It was so cool because I had a lot on the line.
“I hadn’t looked at a leaderboard all day so didn’t know where I stood in terms of keeping my card and for it to go in on the last, all the emotions hit me. I don’t think I have the words for it just yet. Maybe after a drink with my dad who is here with me we can fully take it all in, but at first glance I don’t know how I did it. I am super proud and so happy I could honour my mum. That feels the best for me right now.”