Pieters prevails in Portugal for fifth European Tour title

Final Round ReportThomas Pieters won his fifth European Tour title after a gutsy final round performance at the Portugal Masters, winning by two strokes at Dom Pedro Victoria.The Belgian started the day in a share of the lead with Matthieu Pavon, but the Frenchman was cruising after the first 11 holes, holding a two-stroke lead as the pair stood on the 12th tee.Pavon, chasing a maiden European Tour title, found the water twice on the par five, eventually carding a triple-bogey eight, while Pieters birdied for a four-stroke swing, moving to 19 under par.Pieters recovered from a bogey on the 14th with a birdie on the 17th and then rolled in a par putt on the 18th hole from 20 feet for a two-stroke victory, his first since the 2019 D+D REAL Czech Masters.The 29-year-old has now secured his place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, moving up to 29th on the Rankings from 70th.Sharing second with Pavon were the Danish pair of Lucas Bjerregaard and Nicolai Højgaard. Højgaard was chasing his second European Tour victory in the space of just six starts, while Bjerregaard shored up his position inside the Top 100 on the Rankings, securing playing privileges for the 2022 Race to Dubai.Player QuotesThomas Pieters: “It feels amazing, really… It felt like a long time between victories. But Adam and I worked so hard, felt like I deserve one. It’s never easy coming down the stretch. I saw one of the Højgaards, I don’t know which one it was, was up there again. I knew I needed a birdie on the last two and that putt on the last was fantastic. I really fancied it, perfect speed and it was nice.“It was nice with a two-shot lead (on 18). I was trying to aim for the front-right portion of the green. I thought bogey was enough, but making four this way was good.“(On 17) was one of my better five irons. The feeling you get when you hit that shot is amazing, that’s why I play golf.“You know on the back nine you can shoot 30 or 29, I’m not going to say easily but it’s out there. I expected someone to get to 17 or 18 from the back of the pack. Matthieu (Pavon) hit a couple of errant shots. Is it pressure? Is it the first time near the lead? I don’t know, but he’s going to learn from it. He played amazing, making a birdie after an eight on 12 was impressive. He’ll be back.”Lucas Bjerregaard: “I just looked over and saw my family there… Second, third, whatever it’s going to be. It’s never meant as much to me. I haven’t felt comfortable all week, but I did what I came here to do. Even though I didn’t feel like I’d played very well. That kind of sunk in with that putt on the last.“This week I didn’t even have to say anything to my caddie, but I could sense it was him and I against everyone. I said I didn’t feel like I’d played well at any stage really. I felt like it could all go wrong. But I found a way and hit a terrible drive on 18, but a great recovery out of the bunker. To make that putt was pretty good.”Nicolai Højgaard: “It’s been good fun. It was a good ride on the back and the front nine as well. It’s tough right now, I’m so disappointed with my finish. It’s kind of hard right now to see the positives, but I played some really good golf today and I’m proud of that. But I’m not satisfied with the finish.“I thought they (Pieters and Pavon) would be a few more under and in a battle between them. I was thinking I was playing for third place today with Lucas (Bjerregaard). It’s always fun when you’re in contention, all of a sudden you make a few birdies and you’re up there sharing the lead.”Final Scores 265 T PIETERS (BEL) 68 64 65 68,  267 N H?JGAARD (DEN) 67 69 67 64, L BJERREGAARD (DEN) 67 65 69 66, M PAVON (FRA) 68 64 65 70,  271 M JORDAN (ENG) 70 68 67 66, N BERTASIO (ITA) 61 69 74 67,  272 F LAPORTA (ITA) 70 66 69 67,  273 V PEREZ (FRA) 72 68 68 65, M LEE (AUS) 68 68 71 66, A ARNAUS (ESP) 65 67 73 68, R BLAND (ENG) 70 65 69 69,  274 D HORSEY (ENG) 70 68 69 67, P HARRINGTON (IRL) 67 72 68 67, O WILSON (ENG) 68 67 70 69, S HORSFIELD (ENG) 68 66 69 71, K BROBERG (SWE) 69 67 66 72,  275 S CROCKER (USA) 70 67 70 68, J HANSEN (DEN) 69 67 70 69, T PULKKANEN (FIN) 69 67 70 69, G GREEN (MAS) 66 69 70 70, C SHINKWIN (ENG) 67 66 71 71,  276 J CATLIN (USA) 70 70 71 65, E MOLINARI (ITA) 72 69 68 67, G FORREST (SCO) 68 67 71 70, B HEBERT (FRA) 67 69 68 72,  277 J WALTERS (RSA) 71 70 70 66, P ANGLES (ESP) 68 69 72 68, J CALDWELL (NIR) 69 71 69 68, R LANGASQUE (FRA) 71 68 69 69,  278 A BJ?RK (SWE) 71 66 71 70, R FISHER (ENG) 71 67 70 70,  279 S GALLACHER (SCO) 69 68 73 69, R SANTOS (POR) 70 69 71 69, C WOOD (ENG) 71 69 69 70, J SENIOR (ENG) 71 67 69 72,  280 M ARMITAGE (ENG) 68 69 76 67, P LARRAZ?BAL (ESP) 70 71 72 67, M KIEFFER (GER) 70 71 72 67, A LEVY (FRA) 69 69 73 69, A ROZNER (FRA) 70 69 72 69,  281 J SMITH (ENG) 72 67 74 68, T OLESEN (DEN) 72 69 71 69,  282 W BESSELING (NED) 68 74 72 68, S BROWN (ENG) 68 71 72 71, R RAMSAY (SCO) 70 69 70 73, N LEMKE (SWE) 72 68 69 73,  284 A JOHNSTON (ENG) 72 68 77 67, R H?JGAARD (DEN) 67 71 74 72,  285 N ELVIRA (ESP) 72 70 74 69, F ZANOTTI (PAR) 69 72 71 73,  286 J JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 70 72 72 72, J DONALDSON (WAL) 73 67 73 73,  287 P HANSON (SWE) 71 69 74 73,  288 N COLSAERTS (BEL) 69 73 76 70, M KORHONEN (FIN) 68 74 76 70, K SAMOOJA (FIN) 68 72 74 74, S JAMIESON (SCO) 71 71 72 74, A SULLIVAN (ENG) 70 71 70 77,  289 D LAW (SCO) 68 74 74 73, G COETZEE (RSA) 70 71 73 75,  290 V LOPES (POR) 71 69 76 74,  291 T GOUVEIA (POR) 71 69 76 75,  292 A CHESTERS (ENG) 75 66 77 74,  296 R MACINTYRE (SCO) 70 70 74 82,  299 M WARREN (SCO) 74 67 77 81,  ** 143 G STORM (ENG) 74 69, R ROCK (ENG) 73 70, O FISHER (ENG) 70 73, A OTAEGUI (ESP) 72 71, L CANTER (ENG) 70 73, R ROUSSEL (FRA) 73 70, R MCEVOY (ENG) 73 70, J SURI (USA) 71 72,  144 P FIGUEIREDO (POR) 71 73, J LUITEN (NED) 72 72, J SINGH BRAR (ENG) 72 72, O FARR (WAL) 74 70, R PARATORE (ITA) 72 72, M LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 70 74, D GAVINS (ENG) 72 72,  145 C SYME (SCO) 73 72, S V?LIM?KI (FIN) 70 75, D DRYSDALE (SCO) 72 73, C PAISLEY (ENG) 71 74, J LIMA (POR) 72 73,  146 R JACQUELIN (FRA) 71 75, M KINHULT (SWE) 72 74, J GUERRIER (FRA) 74 72,  147 A QUIROS (ESP) 73 74, S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP) 74 73,  148 H PORTEOUS (RSA) 75 73, J CAMPILLO (ESP) 79 69, M WALLACE (ENG) 72 76, J STALTER (FRA) 76 72, J DU PREEZ (RSA) 72 76, C SHARVIN (NIR) 76 72,  149 E PEPPERELL (ENG) 73 76,  150 T BJ?RN (DEN) 73 77, S SODERBERG (SWE) 76 74,  151 Z LOMBARD (RSA) 73 78, L GAGLI (ITA) 76 75,  152 D HOWELL (ENG) 75 77, S HEND (AUS) 75 77,  162 P CLARE NEVES (AM) (POR) 78 84,  ** OUT C HILL (SCO) 76 WD, V DUBUISSON (FRA) 77 WD, R MCGOWAN (ENG) 70 RT, M SOUTHGATE (ENG) RT

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