Steven Brown claims maiden title at Portugal Masters


Steven Brown claimed his maiden European Tour victory during a dramatic finale at the Portugal Masters

Steven Brown earned his first European Tour title with a bogey free 66 on Sunday at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, finishing one shot clear of Brandon Stone and Justin Walters on 17-under-par. 

Brown, who headed in to the week ranked 150th in the Race to Dubai Standings, moved in to the lead over the final few holes and parred his way in to edge out the South African duo and secure his playing rights until the end of the 2021 season.

"It's hard to put in to words," Brown said of what his win means. "I don't think it has really sunk in."

"It was just a weird day, you just never know with this game. It's crazy to think how well I've played the last month to how bad it was the first two thirds of the year. I never thought this was going to happen. I was just counting down ready for Tour School to get my game ready for that."

Brown began the day three shots behind overnight leader Brandon Stone, who looked to be in control as he carded three birdies in his first four holes, and kept a two-stroke advantage despite a dropped shot at the par three sixth.

But Brown made sure he stayed in the hunt with a birdie at the second, before holing out a putt from 30 feet for birdie at the ninth. 

He closed the gap further with a birdie at the 11th before setting up a spectacular eagle at the 12th to get to within one shot of Stone, while Justin Walters joined him on 17-under with six birdies between the 5th and 14th holes.

Stone soon made his first mistake of the day to slip in to a three-way tie at the top as he failed to get up and down at the 13th, and fell back further with a three-putt bogey at the 16th. 

Brown closed out his bogey-free round with a run of six pars to get in to the clubhouse one shot clear of both Stone and Walters, who closed out his own round of 66 with a final-hole bogey. 

Stone wasn't able to recover the shot on either the 17th or 18th, leaving Brown to claim his first professional victory - moving him up to 69th in the Race to Dubai.

Adrian Saddier finished in fourth on 15-under-par, with Chris Paisley a shot further back in fifth while Eddie Pepperell and Jeunghun Wang shared sixth place on -13. 

Defending Champion Tom Lewis was among a group of six players tied for eighth at 12-under that inlcuded Matt Wallace and Oli Fisher, who was in contention early on in the final round before slipping back down the leaderboard. 

Next week's the WGC HSBC Champions marks the last event before the final three tournaments of the 2018/19 Race to Dubai, which is currently being led by Bernd Wiesberger.