South Africa’s George Coetzee shot a final round of 66 to win the Portugal Masters. Picture: Picture: Shaun Roy/Sunshine Tour
South Africa’s George Coetzee shot a final round of 66 to win the Portugal Masters. Picture: Picture: Shaun Roy/Sunshine Tour

George Coetzee banks R3m for ’winning ugly’ at the Portugal Masters

By Michael Sherman Time of article published Sep 14, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - While South Africa’s George Coetzee banked R3 million with his win at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura on Sunday, his ultimate goal was to get back inside the top-100 in the world rankings.

Coetzee carded a final round five-under 66 to win by two shots with a 16-under score for the week from England’s Laurie Canter.

His first place cheque of €156 825 works out to a hefty payday of R3 099 355, and will mean a move back inside the top-100 to 85th in the world after entering the week 147th.

He also moves to 25th in the Race to Dubai (season-long money-list), up from 72nd before the event.

“That was the goal. I can’t even remember the last time I was in the top-100 in the world, I’ve been hanging around 150 for the last four years,” Coetzee said.

“I’ve been playing well this year and had a lot of top-10s. I felt like if I kept playing the way I was I’d get there soon, but it was nice to get the win and skip a couple of steps.”

It was the 34-year-old’s fifth European Tour title, but his first in Europe itself.

"I have always had a list of things I wanted to achieve in my career as a golfer and originally I never thought I would get as far as winning on the European Tour,” said Coetzee.

“So ticking that box a while back was really nice, and then I started to realise that I was a bit comfortable playing back home and I needed to go to the next step and win away from home.

"And then I won in Mauritius, which still counts as a Sunshine Tour event, so I still felt like I needed to get off my continent and win something else. So I am just happy that I kind of ticked the box in the right order.

"I remember as an amateur I had to win a national stroke play event and then try and win one of the big three national match play events. I ended up winning the South African amateur match play before I won the stroke play event, and I felt like I needed to take a step back and figure out how to win a stroke play event.”

It was Coetzee’s second win in as many weeks, after claiming victory at the Titleist Championship at Pretoria Country Club on the Sunshine Tour on September 4.

Heading to Portugal to play in the Portugal Masters was always the plan said Coetzee.

“There’s a reason I picked this event, because I always play well here. Last week I was really comfortable, this week I wasn’t.

“I think those are the kind of steps you have to take. Winning ugly I guess you can say - when you’re not in your comfort zone.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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