Steven Brown said he was getting his game ready for qualifying school but there will be no need for that after his Vilamoura victory
Steven Brown showed nerves of steel to claim his maiden European Tour title and retain his card with a one-shot victory at the Portugal Masters on Sunday.
The Englishman came into the final regular event of the season with work to do in order to keep his playing privileges and he clearly thrived on the pressure at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
Brown started the last day of the tournament three shots off the lead, but he ended it clutching the trophy after carding a five-under 66.
The world number 550 hit the turn in 33 and tapped in for a third birdie at the 11th hole before a sublime second shot at 12 set up an eagle, moving him into a share of second place with Justin Walters and just a shot behind Brandon Stone.
Brown made six consecutive pars after that eagle three and that was enough to win the event in Vilamoura, where he ended the week on 17 under.
“You just never know with this game,” he said. “It’s crazy to think how well I’ve played the last month to how bad it was the first two thirds of the year. I never thought this was going to happen. I was just counting down ready for Tour School to get my game ready for that.
“The last few weeks I’ve had a calmness in my head. Even today, I liked the fact that I had to go for it and I wasn’t just trying to have a good result. That’s probably the difference.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 27, 2019
Walters bogeyed the last to miss out after also dropping a shot at 16, finishing in a share of second place with fellow South African Stone after also signing for a closing 66.
Stone began the day with a two-stroke advantage and increased that to three with a birdie at the second, but a bogey at six and another two on the back nine cost him the title as he signed off with a one-under 70.
Frenchman Adrien Saddier took fourth place on 15 under with a final round of 66, while Chris Paisley’s brilliant 64 earned him fifth place.