Bjerregaard assuages doubts by winning first solo European title

Lucas Bjerregaard poses with the trophy after his four-shot victory in the Portugal Masters (Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images).

Lucas Bjerregaard claimed his first individual European Tour title with an impressive display of front-running in the Portugal Masters.

Bjerregaard, who partnered Thorbjorn Olesen as Denmark won the inaugural GolfSixes in May, took a one-shot lead into the final round and carded a closing 65 to finish 20 under par at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

This left the 26-year-old four shots clear of Scotland’s Marc Warren, with England’s Graeme Storm and Eddie Pepperell sharing third on 15 under.

South Africa’s George Coetzee had been Bjerregaard’s nearest challenger for much of the day, but drove into the water on the 18th and ran up a triple-bogey seven which dropped him into a tie for seventh.

“It feels really good,” Bjerregaard said when assessing his win. “It’s definitely not the year I’ve been looking for. To be honest it’s been really tough so to be in contention again felt really good and to come out on top feels even better.

“I’ve been out here for four years now and you start doubting if it’s ever going to happen because you know you’ve got to have a week where it all comes together and luckily this was the week for me. (Yesterday) is definitely up there with one of my best rounds, maybe not for the six under, but under the pressure, some of the shots I hit were some of the best I’ve hit in a long time.”

Bjerregaard made four birdies in the first eight holes to lead by four before a two-shot swing on the ninth, where a poor chip led to a bogey and playing partner Coetzee made birdie from six feet.

However, Bjerregaard bounced back superbly with birdies on the 10th and 11th and although he bogeyed the 14th after finding sand off the tee, further birdies on the 15th and 17th proved decisive.

Warren had closed to within two of the lead with an eagle from 20 feet on the 17th and, although he three-putted the last, his best result of the season lifted him from 173rd on the Race to Dubai to 100th.

Only the top 100 at the end of the season will retain full playing privileges for 2018.

More from Sport