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Haydn Porteous Claims Second European Tour Victory at Czech Masters

By: | Mon 04 Sep 2017 | Comments

WHEN he won the Joburg Open in 2016, it was expected that the floodgates would open for Haydn Porteous, of South Africa. Instead, it signalled a miserable run of form and a series of missed cuts that caused the hugely talented young golfer a huge amount of frustration.

His talent has never been in doubt, but he and those around him were beginning to wonder if he would ever win again. So you can imagine the relief when he beat Lee Slattery to claim the D+D REAL Czech Masters. There had been some encouraging signs at the recent Made in Denmark, where he finished in a tie for sixth - his first top 10 finish of the season.

The South African continued that form at the Albatross Golf Resort, signing for a closing 69 to get to 13 under and beat Slattery by two shots. Slattery was bitterly disappointed to lose, but has had other things on his mind, with his wife more than a week overdue with the couple's second child.

Porteous almost began his final round with an eagle at he first when his approach spun his third inches past the hole. He birdied the hole and then added another at the second to join Slattery in a share of the lead.

Slattery started with six straight pars as those around him jostled for position but a beautiful tee-shot on the par three seventh took him ahead on his own again. The 39-year-old then dropped his first shot in 27 holes as he three-putted the eighth to bring him level with Porteous once more.

On the back nine it was clear that the winner was going to come from the final group as Porteous and Slattery continued to go head to head. As the lead changed hands again, Porteous almost holed his tee-shot on the par three 16th for another birdie, but Slattery rolled home his own birdie putt from 12 feet. They came to the last with the South African still one on front. Both men split the fairway at the 18th. Porteous found the green, but was fully 75 feet away, with a huge slope to negotiate. With the door ajar, Slattery pulled his second shot and missed the green to the left. He was unable to get up and down in two and when the South African two-putted it was good enough to win the title.

England's Tom Lewis recorded the lowest round of the day with a 67 to finish in a tie for third place on 10 under sit alongside Swede Pontus Widegren. James Morrison started with five birdies in seven holes to get into contention but he was unable to keep it going and signed for a 70 to finish at eight under alongside countryman Eddie Pepperell, Swede Oscar Lengden and Australian Jason Scrivener.

Porteous was delighted. “It was nerve-wracking at times and fun at times. I lost my swing towards the back nine but luckily I could find myself and managed to keep the birdies going and keep solid pars going," he said.

“Slats (Lee Slattery) is a great guy, he is a real professional in the way he does everything and he is a tough opponent to play against because he is that solid, and hats off to him. He put a pretty decent round together and I can’t thanks him enough for a great day out there and a great memory to have.

“I said the first five holes I needed to come quite quick out of the blocks and try and shake Slats up a little bit, and I managed to do that, but unfortunately gave a shot up on the fourth but from there it was pretty solid and I didn’t really give him much room.

"It's been a really torrid time through the last eight, nine months and I've really started doing the right things and slowly but surely the golf has got a little bit better.

"To get my second European Tour win under the belt just feels amazing. To start to feel as if I belong it’s a big step in the right direction and I need to just carry on doing what I’m doing.

"It's just one tournament at a time, one shot at a time and just make sure I do the right things and be professional in the way I do everything. I'm sure this evening's probably not going to be the most professional moment of my life but there's nothing wrong with having a bit of celebration."

Slattery admitted that losing the title hurt. “I am obviously bitterly disappointed to have lost but Haydn (Porteous) is a good friend so it always makes it a little easier," he said.“I putted well the first few days and today it just let me down a bit. I missed a few short ones which I hadn’t done all week and that was the only difference really, I felt like I could have shot three under today – I had a couple of three putts at the wrong time – but overall on the back nine I played really solid.

“There has been a lot going on at home with the baby and moving house, so to come into this week and finish runner-up is a great achievement. I will always look back at that seven under par second round as one of the best rounds I’ve ever played in those conditions, but to shoot 73 in the last round and to lose by two is going to be tough to take.”

Wildegren paid tribute to Porteous.“I played with Haydn in the third round, he played really solid so I knew I was going to have to play my very best to have a chance, but it was a good start and I felt like I was playing well, but I was very in the moment and tried to hang on as much as I could.

“I liked it a lot, it’s what you practice for. It’s what I have wanted to do all year really with all of the starts that I have had and I’m just very pleased to have put myself in this position.

“I’ve made some good progress with my long game especially and that’s what I need to compete out here. I am pleased with the process I am in right now and hopefully I can get some more chances.”

Meanwhile on the European Seniors Tour, Philip Golding made up a four-shot deficit to win the Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn Golf Club with a score of five under par. It is his second victory of the year

The Englishman, who won the Swiss Seniors Open at Golf Club Bad Ragaz in July, fired a final round of 70, two under par, to win by one stroke from America’s Clark Dennis and Ireland’s Brendan McGovern.

Golding started the day three under par, four strokes behind overnight leader Clark Dennis who birdied four of the first five holes to move seven strokes clear. But Dennis undid all his hard work with a bogey and double bogey on the eighth and ninth holes.

Golding birdied the first and the fifth before a bogey on the seventh hole, before picking up another shot at the 10th.Golding cancelled out a bogey on the 13th hole with a birdie on the 16th hole and parred the final two holes to win his fourth Senior Tour title.

“I am a little bit in shock,” said Golding. “I kept looking at the leaderboard; I’ve been around long enough to know to keep plugging away and grind it out. I said to my caddie that I was playing for second spot after seeing Clark was five or six ahead of me after five holes.

“I’m delighted. It was tough out there. It’s a great course, Woburn. If you hit it in the trees you have to take your medicine, come out sideways and then carry on. I finished runner-up last year, we know it’s a tough course. It was blustery out there today. If you’re in the trees, downwind, you’ve no idea what will happen.

“You never want to see what happened to Clark, but he’s a good player. He has been up there three or four times, and I’m sure he’ll cross the line soon.”

Golding moves up to fourth on the Senior Tour Order of Merit. Chris Williams, who leads the Order of Merit, finished fourth with a score of two under par.

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