The South African George Coetzee won yesterday, Sunday, the 14th Portugal Masters in golf, disputed in Vilamoura, in an edition without public and conditioned by the pandemic context in which Ricardo Melo Gouveia was the best Portuguese.
“They will never catch me saying anything bad about Portugal. First of all, it has great waves, I love the ocean, and there are always good golf courses. One of the best things about Portugal is the people, because of the way they treat and receive those who visit them ”, said the 34-year-old South African, a surfer in his spare time, who won the tournament he wanted to have in his honors“ since 2010 ”.
After three «top-10» in previous participations in the most important Portuguese golf tournament (3rd in 2011, 6th 2012 and 7th in 2017), George Coetzee added in the Algarve his fifth European Tour title and the first since 2018, after winning a Sunshine Tour tournament in his homeland last week.
"I am very surprised to win in two straight weeks," added the player who totaled 268 strokes, 16 under par, after 66, 70, 66 and 66 rounds, pocketing a prize of 156,825 euros, out of a total of 1 million that was at stake at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
The first South African to win the Portugal Masters beat the Englishman Laurie Canter by two strokes, author of laps of 64, 72, 68 and 66, collecting 101,475 euros, while the Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, number 16 in the "ranking" world champion, found his form again and finished 3rd (68, 71, 68 and 64), three strokes from the champion, tied with Swede Joakim Lagergren (69 + 69 + 68 + 65), each receiving 52. 121 euros.
The best Portuguese was Ricardo Melo Gouveia, for the sixth time in his career. The Olympic athlete finished in the group of 36th classified, with 280 strokes, four below the "par", after rounds of 69, 72, 69 and 70, guaranteeing a prize of 5,904 euros.
“Where I come from and with the amount of competition I have been having, it is difficult to get here and make a great result, but the competitive pace is improving, I will have another two, three weeks and my game will improve more and more ”, Said the Algarve golfer.
The other in the Algarve in the race, Ricardo Santos, ended the race in the group of 50th place, his second best classification ever, after 16th place in 2012, this time with 282 strokes (69, 71, 72 and 70), two below the "pair", which earned him a prize of 3,390 euros.
Tomás Bessa, who reached the top-30 in the middle of the race, closed the count in 64th place, tied with two players, including last year's champion, Englishman Steven Brown. The national champion totaled 285 strokes, one above the "par", after 68, 70, 75 and 72 rounds, equivalent to a check for 2,214 euros.
The three Portuguese players who passed the cut and the champion of the Portugal Masters all continue to the Portuguese Open at Royal Óbidos, which starts next Thursday, in a challenging field, designed by the late Seve Ballesteros.
In the Race to Dubai, the ranking of the European Tour, George Coetzee rose from 72 to 25, Ricardo Santos improved from 231 to 219 and Ricardo Melo Gouveia climbed from 283 to 246. º.