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Thomas Pieters Triumphs at Portugal Masters

By: | Mon 08 Nov 2021 | Comments


THOMAS PIETERS secured his first European Tour title for more than two years with a two-shot victory at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, qualifying for the lucrative season-ending DP World Tour Championship in the process.

"It feels amazing, it felt like a long time between victories," said an emotional Pieters. "It's never easy coming down the stretch. I knew I needed a birdie on one of the last two and that putt on the last was fantastic. I really fancied it, perfect speed and it was nice."

A final-round 68 was enough for Pieters to hold off the Danish duo of Lucas Bjerregaard and Nicolai Hojgaard as well as joint-overnight leader Matthieu Pavon, who looked set for his first win on the European Tour until running up a triple-bogey eight at the long 12th.

Bjerregaard and Hojgaard both kept the pressure on with five birdies each on the inward nine, although late mistakes made the task a little easier for the Belgian, who held his nerve down the stretch to end his long wait for his fifth Tour win.

Pieters hit back from an opening bogey with a crucial eagle at the fifth, and he matched Pavon's birdie at the eighth only to see the Frenchman double his lead with his fourth birdie of the final day at the 10th.

But there was a remarkable four-shot swing at the 12th as Pavon lost his composure, and two balls in the water, gifting Pieters a two-shot advantage which was trimmed to one when the 2016 Ryder Cup star pulled his drive into the drink at 14.

The 29-year-old did well to limit the damage to a bogey five, and a classy second to the long 17th set up a two-putt birdie which ensured he would have a two-shot advantage to take down the last.

And after Hojgaard dropped a shot at 18 and Pavon's par-five misery continued when he needed six to negotiate the penultimate hole, Pieters scrambled a closing par from 15 feet which secured his first piece of silverware since August 2019.

Pieters said: “On the 17th I hit a great five iron. The feeling you get when you hit that shot is amazing, that's why I play golf. That was the best shot of the day for me, just how I envisioned it."

Pieters arrived in Vilamoura under pressure to clinch a place in the DP World Tour Championship later this month, an event he has not missed since 2014.

"I was going into this week and next week with my back to the wall," Pieters added. "I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. I've never missed the end of the Race to Dubai and really didn't want to miss it. I didn't care if I finished first, second or third. I just wanted to get there, but winning is amazing.” 


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