Tuesday, 08 October 2013
Shane Lowry - Portugal Masters Champion  (Getty Images)
Shane Lowry - Portugal Masters Champion (Getty Images)

By Nick Totten, europeantour.com
From Oceânico Victoria Golf Club

As autumn arrives each year in northern Europe, plenty of The European Tour's biggest names have descended upon the sunny Algarve, and of course Oceânico Victoria Golf Club, for the Portugal Masters.

Since the inaugural event in 2007, this tournament has been responsible for a number of interesting end of season story lines as players have announced themselves on the professional stage, proven their status as European Tour winners and ended victory droughts en route to the prestigious title.

This season's Portugal Masters will be the penultimate chance for those looking to finish in the top 110 on the Race to Dubai in order to retain their European Tour card for 2014, while there are also places in the Final Series and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai up for grabs.

If the previous six are anything to go by then it is sure to be another exciting week on the Algarve, and in preparation, here is how the history of the Portugal Masters has unfolded since 2008.

            Shane Lowry
October 11-14, 2012
270 (-14)

Having only previously won on The European Tour as an amateur, at the Irish Open in 2009, Shane Lowry felt he had something to prove in picking up a first professional victory.

And last year in Portugal he did just that, rallying from four back entering the final round to take the title, thanks in part to a glorious eagle two at the par four 11th on Sunday, holing out a mid iron from the fairway to kick start his victory march.

"I cannot believe this," he said after coming from four behind Austrian Bernd Wiesberger in the final round.

"I can't explain how I feel really. It's a dream come true - I'm over the moon.

"Everyone was referring to me as the fella who won the Irish Open as an amateur, but now I've won such a prestigious event I don't know what to say."

See how Shane did it here, with highlights on European Tour TV from the 2012 event.

            Tom Lewis
October 13-16, 2011
267 (-21)

Earlier in the 2011 season Tom Lewis, as an amateur, announced himself on the world stage by shooting an opening round of 65 at the Open Championship to share the lead alongside Denmark's Thomas Bjorn at Royal St George's.

Later that summer he would also help lead his Great Britain & Ireland team to Walker Cup success before turning professional shortly after.

Lewis therefore came to the Portugal Masters, having been a tournament invitation, looking to gain professional experience with an eye on going to Qualifying School later that year. Things would turn out a little differently than he might have expected, however. 

"I've not thought about the money - I was thinking about winning," said the new champion, who had an incredible 22 birdies and only one bogey in the last 52 holes.

“I've got a long way to go. I'm nowhere near the player I want to be, so I'll put this win behind me at the end of the year and start fresh next year.

"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.

"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'”.

Relive all the action from Lewis' 2011 triumph here, courtesy of European Tour TV.

            Richard Green
October 14-17, 2010
270 (-18)

Australia's Richard Green started the final round in 2010 seven shots out of the lead, and unlikely to pick up what would have then been a third European Tour title.

However, after a stunning seven under par 65 on Sunday, that's exactly what he did. It wasn't all plain sailing for Green though, and for much of the afternoon it had looked like the title would go the way of Pablo Martin, only for the Spaniard to falter coming home.

“I thought I was a little too far back, being sort of seven shots behind the leader,” admitted Green. “But you know, I set out there today to shoot a good score and I had 64 in my mind and I thought if I got anywhere near, I would have a great week.

“And to be here now with the trophy is just a fantastic feeling. I've worked very hard, and I've had some opportunities to win this year and let them slip. 

“To be honest, I thought this one slipped by as well. But you know, the way it's worked out, I'm happy.”

Watch how Green captured his third European Tour title - Search for Portugal Master 2010 on ETTV.

            Lee Westwood
October 15-19,2009
265 (-23)

Entering the final round, Lee Westwood trailed two time US Open Champion Retief Goosen by three strokes, and looking hard pushed to end a victory drought that went back a little over two years to the 2007 British Masters.

However, a scintillating score of 66 on Sunday saw the Englishman overturn that deficit and eventually win by two from Francesco Molinari.

"It was nice to finish it off, you never know when the next win is going to come and you start to question yourself.

"You always slightly doubt yourself in the back of your mind and to be number one again feels great. It's been nearly ten years since I won it.

"I'm also delighted about the world rankings. I always have a good look at that and it's a reflection of my consistency.

"But winning is definitely a habit and I got out of the habit. Hopefully now I have won again I can win more."

Watch the best of Westwood's win - Search for Portugal Masters 2009 on ETTV here.

            Alvaro Quiros
October 16-19, 2008
269 (-19)

Big hitting Alvaro Quiros was always recognised for his power from the tee, and the previous season he had already proven that he had the deftness of touch to win, too.

In 2007 the Spaniard picked up a maiden triumph at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and four rounds in the 60s saw Quiros claim a three stroke victory over Paul Lawrie the following season in Portugal.

"My caddy told me that Seve always wanted to beat everybody and today I drew inspiration from thinking about the way he played his golf. 

"Seve was and still is a personal inspiration for all of the Spaniards and we wish him well.  Today was a tough day for me with the long game. But with the short game, I kind of stopped and remembered him, you know, when he made chips and putts and wonderful recoveries.

"Seve played in a different way to the rest of the world. He was something special. He was playing more with the heart than the real game, and today was one of those days. We think you have two ways to do the birdies:  The easy way, driver, green, one putt; and the other one is drive, I don't know where, chip, I don't know where, and a good putt, and this is the way that I played today.

“You can imagine how happy I am right now.  It's been a really tough year for me. This is like a little help."

See the best from Quiros' title tilt in 2008 - Search here for Portugal Masters 2008 on ETTV.

            Steve Webster
October 18-21, 2007
263 (-25)

This had been a tough season for Steve Webster, having lost his mother earlier in the year, but he was able to find his best form when it mattered in Portugal.

The Englishman needed just 64 strokes on Sunday in the Algarve, and it saw him turn a one stroke deficit into a two stroke win over Sweden's Robert Karlsson.

"I was thinking about her all the way round," said Webster. "Losing my mum really knocked me about. I didn't even think I'd get my card because it was quite tough.

"It was so hard to keep my mind on my golf. I knew she was watching out for me and it's an amazing feeling to play that well down the stretch."

Search 2007 Portugal Masters on ETTV to watch all the highlights here.

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