Unsung Uihlein wins Madeira Islands Open
Peter Uihlein shot a closing 68 to post a 15-under-par 72-hole total and win the Madeira Islands Open by three shots from Morten Orum Madsen and Mark Tullo at the Clube de Golf do Santo da Sierra.
The American has now moved inside the world’s top 150 and earned a two-year exemption on the European Tour.
Uihlein started slowly with an opening 72, but exploded into life on Friday. He birdied his fist four holes and, after an eagle at the 11th and a birdie at 12, he was 10-under-par for the round.
He stumbled with bogies at 15 and 16, but finished day two just one off the lead.
The 23-year-old shot a solid 68 in round three to stay just one back of the leaders, and he found himself two adrift of leader Marc Tullo – who had a hole-in-one at the fourth – with nine holes to play.
But three consecutive birdies from the 11th put him out in front, and a birdie at 16, followed by two closing pars, saw him crowned champion.
Uihlein won a lot of praise for his decision to leave America and start his professional career in Europe. After his victory, he said it was one of the best decisions he’d ever made, and that he’d developed both as a player and as a man by taking himself out of his comfort zone. But should, and will, more Americans now follow suit? Is that something the European Tour would welcome?
Portugal is home to some of the best golf courses in the world, so its disproportionate representation in the upper echelons of the professional game is perplexing. Currently, Portugal has only one player (Ricardo Santos – 144th) in the top 400 of the Official World Ranking. There seems to be no logical explanation as to why that is.
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