Haydn Porteous, 23, wins Czech Masters for 2nd Euro Tour title

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Haydn Porteous, 23, wins Czech Masters for 2nd Euro Tour title

Euro Tour

Haydn Porteous, 23, wins Czech Masters for 2nd Euro Tour title

Haydn Porteous thought his career was on a steep, upward track when he won the 2016 Joburg Open, his first European Tour victory. It didn’t take long for him to realize that this game always wins.

The South African earned his second European Tour victory by winning the D+D Real Czech Masters. He’ll savor this one perhaps a little more, and not let the win go to his head.

The 23-year-old returned a closing 3-under 69 to post a 13-under 275 to better England’s Lee Slattery by two shots. Slattery led by two shots heading into the final round but fell short of his third European Tour victory with a final-round 73.

Porteous took home $198,000. Slattery earned $132,000, a sum that should secure him his playing rights for next season. England’s Tom Lewis and Pontus Widegren of Sweden shared third place at 10 under and earned $67,000 each.

Porteous tied Slattery at the top of the leaderboard by birdieing the first two holes. By the time he stood on the 10th tee, Porteous was one ahead. Then he got a bad case of the pulls and bogeyed the first two holes of the back nine.

“The last two rounds I started to struggle with a bad pull with my driver and it started to feed into my irons,” he said. “Ten and 11, I was just trying to protect the late shut. Fortunately I managed to get a stock sort of shot on the back nine. To make a few birdies on that back nine was all I needed.”

Make that two birdies, one at the 14th and another at the 16th. Slattery offset two back-nine birdies with dropped shots at the 10th, 15th and 18th, and that’s what separated the two.

Much was expected of Porteous when he began this year after his breakthrough win last season. He didn’t look like a Tour winner in the first half of this season. He began the year with six straight missed cuts, and didn’t threaten a leaderboard until a sixth place finish in Denmark last week.

“It’s a been a really torrid time through the last eight or nine months,” he admitted. “I’ve really started doing the right things and slowly but surely my golf’s got better. To get my second European Tour win under the belt just feels amazing.

“When you start playing on the European Tour you start to lose yourself, you start to lose how you got out here in the first place. To then find yourself again and do the things again that got you on the tour is key.”

That means adhering to golf’s oldest cliché: “Just one tournament at a time, one shot at a time and make sure I do the right things and be professional in the way I do everything.”

He certainly did the right things in the Czech Republic.

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