Andy Sullivan crushes the Portugal Masters field to win his third European Tour title of the season by nine shots

Posted on October 18, 2015 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS MAGAZINE


England's Andy Sullivan seals wire-to-wire victory at the Portugal Masters 
He finished nine shots clear of fellow countryman Chris Wood
It is his third win this year after the South Africa Open and the Joburg Open

England's Andy Sullivan surged to an emphatic nine-shot, wire-to-wire victory at the Portugal Masters on Sunday, his third title of the season on the European Tour.

Sullivan began the fourth round, which was delayed due to heavy rain overnight, with a five-stroke lead and ensured the final stretch was a procession by carding a flawless five-under round of 66, finishing 23-under par for the tournament.

The 29-year-old made only three bogeys all week and is the second Englishman in a row to record a wire-to-wire win on the European Tour, following Matthew Fitzpatrick's first tournament victory at the British Masters last week.

As his putt from 10 feet on the 18th dropped for his 26th and final birdi
e, Sullivan was sprayed with champagne by his parents. 

His previous two wins of the season came at the Joburg Open in March and the South Africa Open in January, but victory in Portugal sees him pocket the highest cheque of his career, with £245,000 awarded to the winner in Vilamoura.

'Those two wins in South Africa were unbelievable but to show your peers that you can do it in Europe as well is unbelievable and to do it in front of so many people from my home golf club,' n ecstatic Sullivan said shortly after completing his win. 'My mum and dad are here and it's been incredible.

'I didn't really feel like I took that many risks until the end there and I just thought I'd play within myself and let them try and catch me. I'm not going to make any mistakes, and I didn't today.' 

English players occupied the top three, with Bristol's Chris Wood finishing runner-up on 14-under and Anthony Wall a shot behind, tied third alongside Eduardo de la Riva of Spain and Trevor Fisher Jnr of South Africa.

Elsewhere in the field, Belgium's Nicolas Colsarts, who missed a putt from 18 feet to card a 59 in the first round at this tournament last year, had the shot of the day on the par-five 12th.

His ball caught the slope at the back of the green and rolled into the water hazard below, but was not completely submerged.

So the 32-year-old removed his shoes and socks, rolled up his trousers and settled his stance in the water, conjuring memories of Jean van der Velde at The Open in 1999.

Thankfully for Colsarts, what followed was not as disastrous. He sent his shot to 15 feet of the flag and two-putted to rescue par, although the 2012 Ryder Cup player ended up shooting a one-over par 72 and finishing tied 18th.