SA’s George Coetzee wins Portugal Masters
VILAMOURA – George Coetzee secured his fifth European Tour title – and his first in Europe – after producing a short game masterclass to hold off a stellar chasing pack and win the Portugal Masters by two shots.
The South African did not put a foot wrong on Sunday afternoon, posting a spotless 66 that contained five birdies and some outstanding par saves to keep his card clean.
Coetzee began the day with a one shot advantage but was knocked off the top of the leaderboard early on after parring his opening six holes in a patient start to his final round.
The 34-year-old made his first birdie of the day from 20 feet on the difficult seventh before picking up another shot from a similar distance on the short eighth to get to 13 under and regain his one stroke lead.
After making another gain from nine feet at the 11th, Coetzee made key par putts on the 12th and 13th to remain in front as the chasing pack began to gather just behind him on an incredibly bunched leaderboard.
He then holed brilliant birdie putts at the 16th and 17th to move to 16 under par and give himself a two shot cushion heading to the 18th tee.
Coetzee saved his best drive until last and went on to make a nerveless par to win for the second week in a row, having also tasted victory at the Titleist Championship at Pretoria Country Club on the Sunshine Tour last week.
Englishman Laurie Canter finished alone in second on 14 under after he also made five birdies in a flawless 66, while his countryman and World Number 16 was another stroke back in a tie for third with Swede Joakim Lagergren.