Tom Lewis as a two-time European Tour winner wasn’t fanciful when he turned pro in 2011. It was expected. Yet not many expected him to win the $2.35 million Portugal Masters.
The Englishman took the title for the second time after his maiden win in 2011. He just had to endure seven years of suffering to get his name back on the trophy.
Lewis returned a closing 5-under 66 to post reach a 22-under 262 total to win by three shots over Eddie Pepperell and 54-hole leader Lucas Herbert. He picked up a check for $390,000. More importantly, it secures his European Tour status. The 27-year-old began the tournament 163rd on the European money list, but receives a two-year exemption with the win.
The man from Sir Nick Faldo’s hometown of Welwyn Garden City turned professional in 2011 after an excellent amateur career. He made headlines in the 2011 Open Championship when he shared the lead after an opening 65. He went on to win the silver medal as low amateur, and then won his first Portugal Masters in just his third pro start.
Lewis’s game deteriorated and he lost his European Tour status in 2016. He’s mixed his time this year playing the European Challenge Tour and any European Tour event he could get into.
Victory in the Challenge Tour’s Bridgestone Challenge earlier this month moved him to 12th on the Challenge Tour rankings, with the top 15 earning a full 2019 European Tour card. It also provided the catalyst to his comeback win.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Lewis, the first player to win the Portugal Masters twice. “It’s been a rough ride, but this week I played hard.
“To be back here in Portugal and play the way I played and to have the crowds we had, I feel great right now. I think this one means more, it means a lot to come and win this again. The next win was always going to mean more because of how much I work for it.
“Hopefully I can do better than I did last time, and continue to do what I’ve been doing with the team that I’ve got and the support and not ease off the gas and keep pushing forwards.” Gwk