Alexander Levy has won the Portugal Masters after the event was reduced to 36 holes as more rain battered the Oceanico Victoria Golf Club.
The tournament had already been reduced to 54 holes after heavy rain on Thursday evening and Friday meant many players could not start their second rounds until the weekend. And Levy and playing partner Nicolas Colsaerts had played just a single hole of their third and final round yesterday when the heavens opened once more, drenching the course, with organisers deciding at approximately 3.15pm that the result would be decided on 36-hole scores.
That meant the Frenchman, who had recorded rounds of 63 and 61, claimed his second European Tour win following his victory at the Volvo China Open in April. “It feels very special,” he said. “If at the start of the year you say to me, ‘You are going to win two tournaments’, I (would) say ‘never’ to you. It’s a very nice feeling to me.”
Levy was one of the lucky ones who managed to get his second round completed on Friday, meaning he did not play at all on Saturday and he admitted it was a strange feeling to have won after playing only two rounds. “It’s special,” he added. “Because you are only on 36 holes but after Friday night I knew I would only play 54.”
Levy will now head to Kent to play in the World Matchplay next week before he approaches the Final Series as the Race to Dubai reaches its conclusion and he is hopeful of maintaining his good form. “I’m going to try to play like I played the first two rounds,” he said. “I’ve impressed myself with the way I’ve played golf.”
Colsaerts parred the first alongside Levy and finished three shots behind him on on 15 under with Chile’s Felipe Aguilar two shots further back and Dane Morten Orum Madsen, France’s Romain Wattel and Englishman Richard Bland on 11 under. Only four players managed to complete their final rounds, including victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, but none of the field were looking like mounting a serious charge on the leaders when play was stopped.
Tournament director Jose Maria Zamora explained that an errant weather forecast had not helped organisers in their contingency plans but felt the right decision had been made.
“It’s very tough. We were confident that we would be able to play this third round,” he said. “The forecast wasn’t that bad so we thought it would be really nice to give a clean third round to the sponsors here in Portugal and have a nice end of the tournament.”
He added: “There are important facts here which is mainly the sponsors and obviously we have to take into consideration that we have got tournaments far away in Hong Kong – if we delay the guys will not be able to play practice rounds. We have two tournaments next week.
“But the main thing is the tournament here – to try to deliver a result. With the forecast we had, we were not expecting these heavy downpours and we had to cut it to 36 holes.”