Lee Westwood wins Portugal Masters.jpg

Lee Westwood wins Portugal Masters


After being staged just three times, the Portugal Masters, held at Oceânico’s Victoria Course near Vilamoura, has already become an established event on the European Tour calendar.

With the chance to play in warm October weather, prize money of three million euros, as well as the opportunity to secure one of the sixty places at the end-of-season Dubai World Championship, it was not surprising that the 2009 Portugal Masters, held between October 15 and 18, attracted a field of famous names.

Players included next year’s Ryder Cup Captain, Colin Montgomerie, as well as Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Justin Rose, Oliver Wilson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul McGinley, Ignacio Garrido, Rory McIlroy, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke – and winner, Lee Westwood.

The perfect weather conditions produced lots of birdies. Padraig Harrington shot the best round of the event with a stunning back nine on day two resulting in 62 for the day.

However, the hot weather proved a problem for the twice British Open Champion, who blamed dehydration for his loss of concentration on day three, when he shot a disappointing 71. He couldn’t recover and eventually finished in third place.    

Swede Alex Noran was the only player to equal Harrington’s score of 62 as a result of a hole-in-one at the sixteenth, followed by an eagle at the next hole on day four.

Despite being stung by a wasp during his round with Colin Montgomerie and Oliver Wilson, Lee Westwood managed to keep his concentration and finished with a very respectable day one score of 66. He then went on to post 67, 66 and 66. This consistency shows why Lee Westwood has now moved to the top of the Race to Dubai money list, overtaking Irishman Rory McIlroy, who struggled with his putter on the tricky Victoria greens.  

Over the four days, Francesco Molinari gave Westwood a run for his money, finishing top of the leader board on day one with a score of 63. But he slipped to second place on day two, just one behind the South African, Retief Goosen, who posted a score of 64, helped by a birdie at the first hole and an eagle at the second.  

At the end of day three, Westwood and Molinari shared the lead at 21 under par – but the popular Englishman finished the tournament at 23 under, beating the Italian by two shots.