Rising star Tom Lewis of England is excited at the prospect of returning to the scene of his “life-changing” victory when the Portugal Masters takes place at Oceânico Golf Course, in Vilamoura, from October 11-14, 2012.
Advance ticket savings are available for the Portugal Masters, with adult one day tickets currently costing $15 – a reduction of $5 on the gate price. Adult season tickets are currently priced at $45, offering $ £10 saving on the gate price. For full details of Portugal Masters tickets can be found at: www.europeantour.com/tickets or by calling the Ticket Hotline: +44 (0) 800 023 2557.
Making only his third appearance since joining the professional ranks, Lewis belied his tender years at last year’s Portugal Masters with a closing round of 65 to prevail over Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello by two strokes and join his compatriot Lee Westwood in the roll call of former champions.
The 21 year old, who first shot to prominence last July when sharing the lead on the opening day of The Open Championship as an amateur, will bid to become the first player to successfully defend the Portugal Masters title when the €2.25million event returns to the Algarve.
Lewis said: “It was one of the first tournaments I looked for when the schedule was published, and I can’t wait to go back there. The weather in Portugal is usually good at that time of year, and I’m sure the course will be in great shape again. The course suits me really well, because it puts the emphasis on your iron play, which is one of my main strengths when my game is on song. I hit the ball really well last year, and I’m sure all the good memories will come flooding back when I return in October.
“It’ll obviously be the first title I’ve defended as pro, so it’ll be another new experience for me and one I’m really looking forward to. It’s always tough to defend a title because in some ways you’re the man to be shot at and the pressure’s on, but if I can play well enough then hopefully I’ll give myself every chance.
“I really enjoyed being up in contention on the final day. Obviously you don’t really know how you’ll feel until you put yourself in that position, but I was pleased with the way I handled my emotions. I’m sure there will be similar occasions in the future where I’ll get nervous and make mistakes, but when I’m playing well like I was in the final round last year, it helps to relax me because I feel more in control. I did that well as an amateur, and it was great to prove to myself and to other people that I could do the same as a pro.
“I knew I was good enough to win, but what I didn’t know was how long that might take – it could’ve taken four months, it could’ve taken four years. So I was just pleased it came early, because it took all the pressure off in terms of getting my Tour card, and I was able to relax. So it was definitely a life-changing week for me, and one I’ll always look back on fondly, no matter what I go on to achieve in my career.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We should congratulate Turismo de Portugal for their continued commitment to supporting the Portugal Masters in these still difficult economic times. Like us, they recognise the value of the Portugal Masters and the important role it plays in promoting tourism generally, and specifically Portugal’s valuable golf tourism.
“Tom’s victory last year was one of the highlights of the season, as it helped to increase his already lofty reputation. He is one of The European Tour’s brightest and best young stars, and his return to Vilamoura should serve to heighten anticipation ahead of the sixth edition of the Portugal Masters.”