VILAMOURA, Portugal – English golfer Tom Lewis needed just three tournaments to earn his first title as a professional, shooting a 7-under 65 Sunday to win the Portugal Masters by two shots.
Lewis made five birdies over the last seven holes to overtake Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who held a four-stroke lead going into the final round. The Spanish golfer hit into the water on his way to a double bogey 7 at the 12th to see his chances of victory fade.
The 20-year-old Lewis finished with a 21-under total of 267. He turned professional last month, after raising eyebrows by becoming the first amateur to lead the British Open following a first-round 65. He was playing on a sponsor’s invitation, but the victory gives him a two-year exemption to play on the European Tour.
“I was just happy shooting in the sixties no matter where I finished. If you had said I would finish 21 under I would have said ‘No way,”’ Lewis said. “To have two years on the European tour, I would not have dreamt that at the beginning of the week, so I’m really pleased.”
Lewis’ start tops even that of Tiger Woods, who needed five tournaments to get his first win. U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy’s first victory came in his 38th event.
Lewis said he was surprised as anyone by his showing.
“I wouldn’t have expected that at all,” Lewis said. “I was dreading qualifying school at the end of the year but it looks like I’ve skipped that. I’m just really pleased with my performance.”
Gregory Havret (64), David Lynn (64), Christian Nilsson (71), Thomas Bjorn (71) and Jamie Donaldson (67) finished three shots behind.