Portugal Masters: World 550 Steven Brown claims maiden win to save European Tour card
|Portugal Masters final leaderboard|
|-17 S Brown (Eng); -16 J Walters (SA), B Stone (SA); -15 A Saddier (Fra); -14 C Paisley (Eng); -13 E Pepperell (Eng), J Wang (Kor); -12 J McLeod (Aus), J Singh Brar (Eng), A Sullivan (Eng), T Lewis (Eng), M Wallace (Eng), O Fisher (Eng)|
|Selected others: -10 M Kaymer (Ger); -7 J Donaldson (Wal), -6 L Johnston (Sco); -3 P Lawrie (Sco), L Westwood (Eng)|
World number 550 Steven Brown shot a brilliant final round to claim a maiden European Tour win at the Portugal Masters and save his tour card.
Brown, 32, began the week 150th on the Race to Dubai list but he finished the event one clear of South African duo Justin Walters and Brandon Stone.
The Englishman had not finished higher than 11th all year and had missed 18 tournament cuts before this result.
"I was counting down ready for Tour School, so this is amazing," he said.
"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.
"I had to seize the chance. It was do or bust this week."
After a superb six-under-par 65 on Saturday, Brown began the day three shots adrift of overnight leader Stone. But more significantly, he needed a top-three finish in the Tour's last full-field event of the season to climb into the top 115 and retain his playing privileges for 2020.
So Brown, a member of Great Britain and Ireland's Walker Cup team in 2011, found the perfect moment to put together a flawless display of four birdies, a spectacular eagle at the par-five 12th and not a single dropped shot for his six-under 66 over the Dom Pedro Victoria course in Vilamoura.
That took him to 17-under and he watched both Walters and Stone make late mistakes, leaving Brown as the surprise victor.
Although Walters was emotional afterwards as his efforts in shooting a last-round 66 were enough to keep his card too, for next year.
France's Adrien Saddier finished fourth, while Chris Paisley of England shot up the field with an eight-under 64 to take fifth place.