Portugal triumph leaves Lowry in dreamland

Irishman Shane Lowry became only the second player to win on the European Tour as both an amateur and a professional.

The 25-year-old, who captured the Irish Open in an amazing Tour debut three years ago, lifted the Portugal Masters by a stroke in Vilamoura when England’s Ross Fisher three-putted the final hole.

Lowry joins Spaniard Pablo Martin, who won the 2007 Portuguese Open in his amateur days and then the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa two years later. Shot of the day from Rory McIlroy’s stablemate was a seven-iron into the hole for an eagle two at the 11th.

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Lowry was one ahead after adding birdies at the 15th and 17th, but prepared himself for a play-off after driving into sand and bogeying the last for a 66 and 14-under-par total.

Former Ryder Cup star Fisher was in the group behind and from the fringe of the green left his long birdie attempt – a putt to win the title – five feet short and then lipped out.

Unlike his maiden victory, which earned him nothing because of his amateur status, Lowry this time picked up a cheque for just over £300,000 in addition to the trophy.

“I cannot believe this,” he said after coming from four behind Austrian Bernd Wiesberger in the final round.

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“I can’t explain how I feel really. It’s a dream come true – I’m over the moon. Everyone was referring to me as the fella who won the Irish Open as an amateur, but now I’ve won such a prestigious event I don’t know what to say.”

Nothing might match the atmosphere in torrential rain on the day he triumphed at County Louth, but he still had plenty of vocal support at Oceanico Victoria.

“It was like playing in Ireland,” he said. “It was crazy. It was great.”

Lowry was still three behind at the turn, but birdied the 10th and then saw his approach to the next land a foot short of the flag and hop in.

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“I thought then this could be my day and thankfully it is,” he said.

“We had a long wait on the 12th tee which was good, I had time to compose myself.”

He went ahead for the first time when Wiesberger drove into the lake and dropped a shot on the 11th, but Fisher then produced three birdies in a row to take over at the top. The 31-year-old was chasing his first success for more than two years, but bogeyed the short 16th to fall behind again and could not get back on terms.

Michael Campbell – the 2005 US Open champion – took third place on his own with Hull’s Richard Finch in fifth after weekend rounds of 66, 70. Sheffield’s Danny Willett surged into a tie for sixth after a closing 63.