16 October 2011
Tom Lewis produced a magnificent final round 65 to win on only his third professional outing at the Portugal Masters.
The 20 year old Englishman shot to fame with his opening 65 at Sandwich, when wearing his MacWet gloves helped him retain his grip in the sodden wet weather, the lowest ever round by an amateur in The Open Championship and gave him a share of the lead.
He was then part of the victorious Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup side before joining the professional ranks, producing a top-ten finish in his first event in Austria. Lewis' seven under par round at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course saw him cut through the field, and at 21 under for the week he finished two ahead of Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
He started with birdies from five feet at the first and fifth, but the real fireworks were saved for the back nine. A two-putt birdie at the par five 12th was followed by a pitch to six feet at the 14th, and he drove the green at the par four 15th.
Two putts gave him another birdie there, but he only required one putt at the 16th from 30 feet. And when Lewis reached the 17th green in two and rolled his eagle putt to within a foot he had birdied five of his last six holes to blow away a world-class field. Tiger Woods needed five tournaments to land his first professional title, while Rory McIlroy did not taste success until his 38th European Tour event, Lewis is definitely ahead of the curve! "I've not thought about the money - I was thinking about winning," said the new champion, who had an incredible 22 birdies and only one bogey in the last 52 holes.
"I've got a long way to go. I'm nowhere near the player I want to be, so I'll put this win behind me at the end of the year and start fresh next year."
He kept his nerve to par the dangerous final hole and had to wait the best part of an hour before a victory that changes his life was confirmed.