Lucas Bjerregaard takes first individual Tour title in Portugal

Danish golfer cards closing 65 to win by four shots in Vilamoura

 Lucas Bjerregaard celebrates victory with Jeff Winther (left) and Thorbjorn Olesen on the 18th after putting out to win  the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club  in Albufeira, Portugal. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Lucas Bjerregaard celebrates victory with Jeff Winther (left) and Thorbjorn Olesen on the 18th after putting out to win the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club in Albufeira, Portugal. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

Lucas Bjerregaard claimed his first individual European Tour title with an impressive display of front-running in the Portugal Masters on Sunday.

Bjerregaard, who partnered Thorbjorn Olesen as Denmark won the inaugural GolfSixes in May, took a one-shot into the final round and carded a closing 65 to finish 20 under par at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

That left the 26-year-old four shots clear of Scotland’s Marc Warren, with England’s Graeme Storm and Eddie Pepperell sharing third on 15 under.

Pádraig Harrington carded a two-under 69 to finish in a share of 25th position on 10 under, with former champion Shane Lowry a shot further back after a closing one-over 72.

South Africa’s George Coetzee had been Bjerregaard’s nearest challenger for much of the day, but drove into the water on the 18th and ran up a triple-bogey seven which dropped him into a tie for seventh.

“It feels really good,” Bjerregaard told Sky Sports when assessing his win. “It’s definitely not the year I’ve been looking for. To be honest it’s been really tough so to be in contention again felt really good and to come out on top feels even better.

“I’ve been out here for four years now and to be honest you start doubting if it’s ever going to happen because you know you’ve got to have a week where it all comes together and luckily this was the week for me.

“Today is definitely up there with one of my best rounds, maybe not for the six under but under the pressure, some of the shots I hit today were some of the best I’ve hit in a long time.”

Bjerregaard made the ideal start with four birdies in the first eight holes to lead by four before a two-shot swing on the ninth, where a poor chip led to a bogey and playing partner Coetzee made birdie from six feet.

However, Bjerregaard bounced back superbly with birdies on the 10th and 11th and although he bogeyed the 14th after finding sand off the tee, further birdies on the 15th and 17th proved decisive.

Warren had closed to within two of the lead with an eagle from 20 feet on the 17th and although he three-putted the last, his best result of the season lifted him from 173rd on the Race to Dubai to 100th.

Only the top 100 at the end of the season will retain full playing privileges for 2018.

Warren said: “I knew in the middle of the back nine Lucas was a few in front so I was just trying to finish as best as I could.

“I hit two absolutely perfect shots and finished off with a perfect putt on 17 and just couldn’t bring myself to hit the putts firm enough on the last, they were straight into the grain.

“It’s just nice to be pretty much 100 per cent fit again [following a shoulder injury] and driving the ball as well as I have done. If I keep that up I think we can have a good strong finish to the season.”

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