2005 WINNER in Estoril, Paul Broadhurst, topped a ‘pillar-to-post’ four-day victory march with a nail-biting finish at the 18th hole of the Le Meridien Penina Golf Resort on Sunday afternoon, to claim his second Portuguese Golf Open title. The 40-year-old Englishman dominated the 50th edition of the 1.25 million euro PGA European Tour event from day one.
Broadhurst returned to the clubhouse at the head of the leader board, having shot a course record-equalling eight under par round of 64 that included seven birdies and an eagle. Earlier, Portuguese fans had something to celebrate, as the 22-year-old João Pedro Sousa from Madeira achieved a hole-in-one at the sixth, the first time this has occurred during the first round of the tournament in 15 years, and the first time a Portuguese player has done so in a Portuguese Open. Not much later, players and spectators found themselves running for cover, as five skydivers made an involuntary emergency landing between the fifth and sixth holes – fortunately no one was injured.
On Friday, Broadhurst picked up a further three shots, carding a round of 69 for a combined total of 11 under, retaining pole position. Tiago Cruz, who finished 28th in Madeira a week earlier, became the only Portuguese from an entry of 13 to make the cut.
The eventual winner had to temporarily relinquish his lead the following day, as Argentine Ricardo Gozalez put in a scintillating birdie-eagle finish to round three, equalling Broadhurst’s opening day score of 64 to move a stroke ahead of the Englishman. Anthony Wall had also come into contention by this stage, and was waiting, together with Carl Suneson and Jarmo Sandelin, for any slip-ups from the two leaders.
By Sunday lunchtime, Broadhurst had regained his pre-eminent position and looked confident as he established a two-shot lead with seven holes to play. Then, disaster struck at the 13th in the form of a double bogey, allowing first Andreas Romero to emerge from the chasing pack before dropping away again, and then more challengingly, Anthony Wall. The two Englishmen shared the lead going to the last, but Broadhurst produced a birdie for a round of 67 to claim the 208,330 euro winner’s cheque by a one-shot margin.
Ahead of the start of the Masters in Augusta this week, Phil Mickelson also defended his title at the BellSouth Classic in no uncertain manner. His 13-stroke winning margin (28 under par) was the third biggest over the last 50 years on the US Tour, the Green Jacket beckons!