Steven Brown secured a maiden European Tour win to surge up the Race to Dubai Rankings and edge towards a DP World Tour Championship spot with a one-stroke triumph at the Portugal Masters.
The Englishman, who needed a top three finish to retain his playing privileges for next year in the final full-field event of the season, started the final round three shots adrift of overnight leader Brandon Stone after a superb six under par 65 on Saturday.
The 32 year old kept up his sublime form on Sunday as he posted a 66, which included an eagle on the 12th, to reach 17 under par and claim victory at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
“You just never know with this game,” said Brown, who surges from 150th to 69th in the Race to Dubai and secures his spot in the Rolex Series’ Turkish Airlines Open, which is open to the top 70 ranked players.
“It’s crazy to think how well I’ve played the last month to how bad it was the first two thirds of the year. I never thought this was going to happen. I was just counting down the days until Tour School to get my game ready for that.”
South African duo Stone and Justin Walters finished one shot back to share second place in Vilamoura. Stone ends his season ranked 97th in the Race to Dubai after jumping up 51 places from 148th while Walters secures his card for next season after moving up to 79th from 121st in the Rankings.
There was also joy for Jeunghun Wang and Jack Singh Brar who moved into the top 115 to retain their playing privileges for 2020 after moving up to 109th and 101st respectively.
Meanwhile, Englishman Eddie Pepperell put himself back in control of securing his place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship with a tied sixth finish which helped him rise to 41st from 50th in the Rankings after collecting 89.6 Race to Dubai points.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest first prize in world tournament golf.