Tom Lewis completed a remarkable victory in last year's Portugal Masters, winning by two shots from Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Here, in an excerpt from The European Tour Yearbook 2012, we recap how the young Englishman claimed his first European Tour title in just his third professional appearance.
European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady said it at the prize giving ceremony and those who witnessed Tom Lewis’ stunning maiden European Tour triumph in the Portugal Masters agreed that, indeed, a star had been born at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.
The 20 year old Englishman was no stranger to the limelight before he arrived on the Algarve, having carded the lowest round by an amateur in Open Championship history at Royal St George’s in July before helping Great Britain and Ireland defeat the United States to win the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen in September.
But, having turned professional, question marks were raised over whether or not he could cut it with the big boys in the paid ranks: it is fair to say he answered that question pretty emphatically.
Four shots off the pace at the start of the final round, Lewis’ superb closing 65 saw him cut through the field to win by two shots from Spain’s Rafael Cabrera- Bello, but it was his spectacular finish which drew most of the plaudits; birdies at the 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes blowing his nearest challengers away.
Tiger Woods needed five tournaments to land his first professional title, Matteo Mannasero needed ten, while Rory McIlroy did not taste success until his 38th outing. It was no surprise that Lewis’ name was mentioned in such exalted company afterwards and, whatever happens in the future, he can always hold sway in this particular category; his triumph having come in his third professional tournament.
To order your copy of The European Tour Yearbook 2012, a 240-page, full colour hardback Official Publication with iconic pictures by Getty Images and essays from some of the game's top writers that takes you every step of the way through 52 tournaments and 29 destinations on The 2011 Race to Dubai, click here.