| Red-hot George Coetzee triumphs at Portugal Masters

George Coetzee wins Portugal Masters

George Coetzee wins Portugal Masters

Luke Walker/Getty Images

South Africa’s George Coetzee made five birdies in a five-under par 66 on Sunday to capture his fourth European Tour title at the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

It was Coetzee’s first win in Europe, with his previous European Tour victorious coming in South Africa (Joburg Open, Tshwane Open twice) and Mauritius (Mauritius Open).

“That was the next step for me really (winning on European soil),” Coetzee told reporters on Sunday.

“I have always had a list of things I wanted to achieve in my career as a golfer and originally I never thought I would get as far as winning on the European Tour, so ticking that box a while back was really nice, and then I started to realise that I was a bit comfortable playing back home and I needed to go to the next step and win away from home.”

Coetzee, who held a one shot lead ahead of the final round in Quarteira, finished on 16-under to win the tournament by two strokes.

Coetzee was playing in his first European Tour event since the Qatar Masters in March.

He played in the opening three Sunshine Tour Rise-Up Series events and entered this week’s event hot off the heels of a Sunshine Tour victory where he won the Titleist Championship at Pretoria Country Club.

“I have some bad memories from finishing on this golf course, so I was very nervous playing this course and knowing that there are booby traps around the corner every now and then, so stepping on to 18 and hitting the best drive I hit all week, I was shocked,” he said.

“I told my caddie, I can’t believe I just did that, and my preparation mentally kind of paid off as well.”

It was the second win from a South African golfer on the European Tour this year after Branden Grace won the South African Open in January.

Leading final round scores in the European Tour’s Portugal Masters at Vilamoura on Sunday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 71):

268 – George Coetzee (RSA) 66 70 66 66

270 – Laurie Canter 64 72 68 66

271 – Tommy Fleetwood 68 71 68 64, Joakim Lagergren (SWE) 69 69 68 65

273 – Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 67 71 65 70

274 – Niklas Lemke (SWE) 70 69 65 70, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez (ESP) 70 68 67 69

275 – Jason Scrivener (AUS) 69 68 70 68, Jorge Campillo (ESP) 68 71 70 66, Julien Guerrier (FRA) 62 66 75 72, Johannes Veerman (USA) 69 68 70 68, John Catlin (USA) 72 69 65 69, Scott Vincent (ZIM) 70 65 72 68

– Compiled by Sport24 staff

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