Sport Golf

Friday 23 February 2018

Green can't believe good luck after rivals fall away

Bernie McGuire at Villamoura

AustraliaN Richard Green could not believe his good fortune when he was virtually handed victory in the Portugal Masters on a plate yesterday.

Green recorded 11 birdies in a final round 65 to win by two strokes with an 18-under-par tally.

The southpaw Aussie had a 90-minute wait as all 18 players ahead of him out on the golf course faltered in some form or another, among them the overnight leader, Pablo Martin of Spain, who led by three going into the final round.

However, Martin started to look increasingly unsteady after he double-bogeyed the seventh. He managed to get within a stroke of Green with a birdie at 17, before sending his tee shot into the water at 18 in a round of 75 to finish in a share of sixth.

Four players -- Italian Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari (62), Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (68), Sweden's Robert Karlsson (67) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (69) -- were second on 16-under par.

Molinari recorded an eagle and nine birdies in his round, and gave new meaning to the word consistency with scores of 74 62 74 62.

Peter Lawrie recorded his seventh top-10 this year in finishing in a share of sixth, just one stroke away from a tie for third, after a closing-round 69 for a 15-under-par tally.

Lawrie birdied his opening two holes with respective putts of four feet and 25 feet and, while he had four other birdies, it was a three-putt bogey from just four feet at the fourth hole, and a bogey at the 11th, that ruined hopes of only a second top-three of the year.

The Dubliner elected to take 5-wood off the tee at 11, but looked on in dismay when his ball kicked hard left off the edge of the fairway and into a water hazard. "I had a good chance today to go really low, especially after getting off to a good start, but the bogeys at four and the 11th just killed me," he said. "I couldn't believe the bounce my ball took at 11 and that's always a bit of a kick in the backside when that happens.

"But on the positive side, I played lovely all week and to shoot four rounds in the 60s this week is not ba. I haven't done that for some time."

Damien McGrane (72) was the next best of the Irish at nine-under-par, one fewer than Belfast's Michael Hoey (72) on eight-under-par.

McGrane ended his round with a bogey at 18, Hoey with a double-bogey, while Paul McGinley (75) also dropped a shot at the last to be tied on six-under-par with Shane Lowry (70), who managed a closing par.

Irish Independent

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