England’s Tom Lewis took a giant step towards a maiden DP World Tour Championship appearance after a three-stroke victory over Australian Lucas Herbert and England’s Eddie Pepperell at the Portugal Masters earned him his first European Tour win since he won the same tournament in 2011.
Lewis, who secures a two-year exemption on the European Tour with the win, had been in 12th place on the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings coming into the tournament. But the 27 year old gained a promotion to the main Tour after the biggest 54 hole comeback of the season.
Having finished the first round one over par, Lewis carded a second round 63 before a breathtaking 61 on day three moved him to within two heading into the final round. Lewis once again turned on the style in an enthralling final day as he shot 66 to finish two clear of the chasing pack at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course. With the win, Lewis surges from 163rd to 62nd in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings on 538,928 points and in with a great chance of gaining qualification for the DP World Tour Championship, open only to the top 60 ranked players.
“It’s great to see Tom back in the winner’s circle,” said Nick Tarratt, Director, European Tour International Dubai Office. “Tom’s been playing a lot of golf on the Challenge Tour this year and it’s really given him a lot of confidence which you can see in his recent performances. After winning the Bridgestone Challenge he has come to Portugal and won on the main Tour so we are delighted for him. If he continues this fine run of form we could be welcoming to Jumeriah Golf Estates for the first time in November. It would be a very special year if he were to achieve a spot in the top 60 of the Race to Dubai.”
As well as making significant strides in the Race to Dubai, Lewis has also jumped up to 109th in the Official World Golf Ranking after starting the year in 394th.
“It's unbelievable. I'm so happy, it's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,” said The 2011 Open Championship Silver Medalist.
“To be back here in Portugal and play the way I played and to have the crowds we had, I feel great right now. I think this one means more, it means a lot to come and win this again. The next win was always going to mean more because of how much I had to work for it.”
Meanwhile, Herbert’s tied second-place finish also moved him to the brink of the Race to Dubai’s top 60. After picking up 201,937 points he moves from 103rd to 64th on 528,996 points for the season.
The top three in the Race to Dubai remains unchanged with Italy’s Francesco Molinari leading the way on 4,635,909 points, the USA’s Patrick Reed in second place with 3,057,948 points and reigning Race to Dubai champion, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, in third place with 2,805,042 points.
The DP World Tour Championship takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 November.