Tuesday 11 December 2018

Portugal top 10 finish boosts Lowry's hopes


Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry is off and running in his bid to break back into the world's top 50 by Christmas after he notched his first top-10 finish for ten months in the Portugal Masters.

With a new caddie on the bag in Vilamoura, the world No 85 shot four rounds in the sixties for the first time since the British Masters a year ago, closing with a four-under 67 to finish sixth behind England's Tom Lewis. It was Lowry's first top-10 since last year's runner-up finish in the DP World Tour Championship and a boost after losing full playing rights on the PGA Tour.

If Lowry could be pleased with his haul of 22 birdies, it was also a positive week for Greystones' Paul Dunne, who ended a run of three missed cuts in a row with a share of 44th on eight-under after a final-round 69.

No-one was happier than Lewis, who produced the biggest 54-hole comeback of the season to win the event for the second time since 2011.

The Englishman (27) was nine shots behind first-round leader Lucas Herbert after opening with a one-over 72. But having won the Bridgestone Challenge and tied for third in Kazakhstan in previous two starts on the Challenge Tour, he shot rounds of 63 and 61 to go into yesterday's final round just two strokes behind Herbert.

He then closed with a 66 to win by three from the Australian and England's Eddie Pepperell on 22-under par with the key a 35-foot par save at the 17th. Ryder Cup wildcard Sergio Garcia, meanwhile, boosted European skipper Thomas Bjorn when he closed with a 65 to finish tied for seventh.

Tom Lewis poses with his trophy after claiming the Portugal Masters at the Dom Pedro Victoria GC. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Tom Lewis poses with his trophy after claiming the Portugal Masters at the Dom Pedro Victoria GC. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

On the Challenge Tour, Gavin Moynihan dropped three shots in his last two holes, carding a three-over 75 to finish tied 40th in the Hopps Open de Provence in France on one-under. Romain Langasque claimed his maiden Challenge Tour title.

On the Symetra Tour, Leona Maguire shot a final round 69 to be tied 37th in the clubhouse in the Guardian Championship in Alabama where Stephanie Meadow was chasing her eighth top 10 of the season.

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