PRAGUE – Haydn Porteous overcame Lee Slattery in a thrilling final-day battle to win his second European Tour title at the Czech Masters in Prague on Sunday.
The South African burst on to the scene last season as he won the Joburg Open, but has made just two of 16 cuts between this event last year and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
He recorded his first top 10 of the season last week in Denmark, and brought that form to Albatross Golf Resort, signing for a closing 69 to get to 13-under and beat Slattery by two shots.
“It’s been a really torrid time through the last eight, nine months and I’ve really started doing the right things, and slowly but surely the golf has got a little bit better,” said Porteous.
“To get my second European Tour win under the belt just feels amazing.
“When you start playing on the European Tour you start to lose yourself, you lose how you got out here in the first place, and to then find yourself again and do the things you do to normally get on the Tour is key.
“It’s just one tournament at a time, one shot at a time, and just make sure I do the right things and be professional in the way I do everything.
“I’m sure this evening’s probably not going to be the most professional moment of my life, but there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of celebration.”
Porteous almost made an eagle on the first as he spun his third inches past the hole, and when he spun the ball back towards the target for the second hole running, he was in a share of the lead with Slattery.
The 23-year-old hit a wild tee shot on the fourth, but made a birdie with his provisional to drop just a single stroke and got back into a share with an excellent approach to the sixth.
Slattery had started with six straight pars as those around him jostled for position, but a lovely tee-shot on the par three seventh moved him ahead on his own again.
The 39-year-old then dropped his first shot in 27 holes as he three-putted the eighth and we were back into a tie at the top.
Porteous hit an impressive approach to the ninth to get to 13-under and take the solo lead, but both of the leading duo bogeyed the 10th.
When Porteous hit a poor drive to drop a shot on the 11th, it looked like he was going to falter.
A wonderful tee-shot to the par-three 13th edged Slattery ahead, but Porteous holed a long putt on the next, and Slattery bogeyed the 15th after finding sand off the tee.
Porteous put his tee shot on the par-three 16th to tap-in range, but Slattery rolled home from 12 feet and it was now a two-horse race, with the two-time European Tour winner bogeying the last to give the South African a two-shot victory after his par.
African News Agency (ANA)