Winner: Steven Brown
Ranked 150th on the Race to Dubai entering the Portugal Masters, the last full-field event of the season on the European Tour, Steven Brown needed to do something spectacular to retain his card. The 32-year-old Englishman did just that. Three behind Brandon Stone at the turn on the final day, Brown birdied the 11th and hit a five wood to four feet for an eagle at the 12th hole.
Six pars from there and Brown could cancel his plans for the qualifying school and prepare to head to Turkey for the next Rolex Series event.
After scores of 69 and 67, Brown had a magical weekend of 65 and 66 for a 17-under-par total of 267 to finish one ahead of Stone, who made two late bogeys in a closing 70 after three 66s, and Justin Walters, who scored 66. An emotional Walters, at 121st on the Race to Dubai at the start of the week, had only kept playing after the death of his father in August because he needed to secure his card for 2020.
“You just never know with this game,” said Brown, who played in a win
ning GB&I Walker Cup team in 2011 but only qualified from the Challenge Tour in 2017. “That shot I hit into 12 was probably the best shot I’ve ever
hit. It couldn’t have come off more perfect. 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 the days
until Tour School to get my game ready for that.”