5 Things: David Lynn wins Portugal Masters
The final European Tour event to be played in Continental Europe this year produced much drama and emotion.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from the Portugal Masters:
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1. LYNN'S LONGEVITY: David Lynn’s Portugal Masters victory isn’t surprising given his recent success. He’s living proof good things really do come to those who wait.
Long the epitome of the journeyman golfer, Lynn looks like casting off that unwanted tag as he enters his 40s. He’ll turn 40 on Oct. 20.
Lynn had only won once in 15 years on the European Tour, at the 2004 KLM Open. He’d never finished higher than 18th on the money list, either. Yet this season he’s not only won, he’s kept his card on both sides of the Atlantic.
Lynn finished 53rd on this year’s PGA Tour money list. A final round of 8-under 63 in Portugal gave him the victory and moved him from 104th on the European Tour money list to inside the top 45. That means he’ll play in the lucrative DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
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2. A HEARTWARMING TALE: Of all the stories surrounding keeping a place on the European Tour, Justin Walters’ story was the most heartwarming.
The former North Carolina State player arrived in Portugal 126th on the money list with €174,994 in earnings, some €45,000 short of the magic 110th spot. He holed a long par putt on the 72nd green for a closing 66 to finish second and earn €222,220. Not bad for a guy who was battling through grief over the recent death of his mother.
Needless to say, Walters was in tears afterwards. It was obvious he was playing for more than his European Tour survival. He did his mother proud with his performance.
Scotland’s Chris Doak tied for eight place to earn himself a check for €41,200, which guarantees him a European Tour card for next year. He began the week ranked 112th on the money list.
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3. STILL NO EURO TOUR 59: Scott Jamieson came within a chip-in of recording the European Tour’s first 59. The Scotsman watched as his chip from just off the 18th green in the third round shaved the hole.
Had it been half an inch left it would have dropped into the cup and made history. Instead he settled for a tap-in par and an 11-under 60. He became the 17th player in the Euro Tour’s 41-year history to come within a shot of the magical 59.
Can’t be long before it happens, though, given the talent in Europe.
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4. NO ASCENDANCY FOR FISHER KING: Sad to see England’s Oliver Fisher miss the cut in Portugal.
At 120th in the European Tour's Order of Merit, he has one tournament left to get inside the top 110 and secure his 2014 European Tour card. He needs a good finish in this week’s ISPS Handa Perth International to earn full playing privileges for next year.
Fisher won the 2011 Czech Open, his first and, so far, only European Tour win. Many thought he would have notched up many tournament wins by now.
I first saw Fisher play in the McEvoy Trophy when he was just 14 years old. He didn’t look out of place alongside players four years older than him. He made history in the 2005 Walker Cup when, at age 16, he became the youngest to play in that competition.
Maybe part of the problem is he's had too many coaches since he's turned professional. The good news is that he still has lots of time to get things right. He has too much talent not to succeed.
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5. STILL WAITING: It’s amazing to think Portugal has yet to produce a genuine superstar.
You have to look hard to find any Portuguese winners in the last 25 years. I can only count two, but the wins came 20 years apart.
Ricardo Santos won last year’s Madeira Islands Open. Before that you have to go back to the 1992 Jersey European Airways Open to find the previous Portuguese winner. Daniel Silva won that tournament.
Spain has produced major winners in Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, genuine world stars like Sergio Garcia and numerous winners. Yet neighbor Portugal struggles to produce Tour players – let alone winners.
Santos is the only Portuguese player inside the world top 250. He’s ranked 195th. Jose Felipe Lima is next at No. 256. (For those who say Lima’s 2004 Aa St. Omer Open counts as a Portuguese win, he was French when he won that event. He later became a Portuguese national.)
Portugal’s failure to produce good professionals is a salutary lesson to all those who think golf in the Olympics will help new nations produce stars. Golf has been played for a long time in Portugal but it hasn’t helped produce good Portuguese pros.