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The Debrief - Portugal Masters

The Debrief - Portugal Masters

Everything you need to know from the week's action at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

Steven Brown

Steven Brown kept his European Tour card in style by winning the Portugal Masters.

The Englishman entered the final regular event of the season at 150th in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex and needed a good week just to keep his playing privileges for 2020.

He instead had a brilliant week as he made up a three shot deficit on the final day at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course to claim his maiden European Tour title.

Here, we take a look at the highlights of the week.

Brown rockets up rankings

There's only one place to start as Brown went into the week needing a top three finish to keep his card, but was fully expecting to be heading to Qualifying School. Instead, he left Portugal holding a trophy and with a ticket to the Rolex Series’ Turkish Airlines Open.

After turning in 33 on Sunday, a birdie on the 11th put him into a position where he would keep his card and an eagle on the next had him at 17 under. He then showed nerves of steel to par his way home and finish a shot clear.

After his jump from 150th to 69th in the Race to Dubai, he said: "You just never know with this game. I never thought this was going to happen. I was just counting down the days until Tour School to get my game ready for that. The last few weeks I've had a calmness in my head. Even today, I liked the fact that I had to go for it and I wasn't just trying to have a good result. That's probably the difference. I went to Turkey as first reserve last year and didn't get to play so it'll be nice to turn up and actually be in the field this year."

Déjà vu for Walters

For the second time in six years, South African Justin Walters overcame the loss of a parent to keep his card at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course. In 2013, weeks after the death of his mother, he holed a 60 foot putt on the 72nd hole to secure second place and his playing privileges.

Fast forward seven years and Walters arrived in Portugal 121st in the Race to Dubai Rankings having sadly lost his father in August. Again, a second place finish saw him keep his card and move up to 79th in the season long standings.

"It’s very satisfying just after what we’ve been through," he said. "It’s about finding a bit of perspective after the loss of my dad. I just felt lost, I was trying to get too much out of the game and looking at that to solve my problems and issues."

Bubble battle

Brown and Walters weren't the only players who started the weekend outside the bubble but ended it having kept their cards. Jeugnhun Wang and Jack Singh Brar both moved into the top 115 by finishing sixth and eighth respectively.

Wang said: "My putting was really bad today but I kept trying every hole - that helped and to finally get to the last hole, it feels good."

Singh Brar added: "It’s hard when you know how much is on the line, I’m just so glad to have done it. You wake up with thoughts racing round, even today. Trying to control my emotions, even coming down 18 I could barely hold the club."

It wasn't such good news, though, for Min Woo Lee, Niklas Lemke, Clément Sordet, Abraham Ancer and Lee Slattery.

Love in the air for Kaymer?

Martin Kaymer was playing alongside Eddie Pepperell in the second round and the Englishman offered his Major winning playing partner a wager - if Pepperell went lower than Kaymer, he would apply for the German to go on the television show First Dates. Pepperell went four shots better than Kaymer and quickly set about trying to find the former World Number One his life partner.

Cruz control

There's nothing quite like the roar that greets a special shot from a home golfer. Take a bow, Tiago Cruz.