PORTEOUS PIPS SLATTERY IN PRAGUE
4 September 2017
South Africa’s Haydn Porteous overcame Southport’s Lee Slattery in a thrilling final-day battle to win his second European Tour title at the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
The 23 year old burst onto the scene last season after he won Joburg Open, but made just two of 16 cuts between this event last year and the Dubai Desert Classic. He recorded his first top ten of the season last week in Denmark, and brought that form to Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, signing for a closing 69 to get to 13 under and beat Slattery by two shots.
Porteous almost made an eagle on the first as he spun his third inches past the hole and when he spun the ball back towards the target for the second hole running, he was in a share of the lead with Slattery. The South African hit a wild tee-shot on the fourth but made a birdie with his provisional to drop just a single stroke and got back into a share with an excellent approach to the sixth.
Slattery had started with six straight pars as those around him jostled for position, but a lovely tee-shot on the par three seventh moved him ahead on his own again. The 39-year-old Englishman then dropped his first shot in 27 holes, as he three-putted the eighth and we were back into a tie at the top.
Porteous hit an impressive approach to the ninth to get to 13 under and take the solo lead, but both of the leading duo bogeyed the tenth, and when Porteous hit a poor drive to drop a shot on the 11th, Tom Lewis’ ten under target looked to be in contention. A wonderful tee shot to the par-three 13th edged Slattery ahead, but Porteous holed a long putt on the next and Slattery bogeyed the 15th after finding sand off the tee, to hand Porteous a narrow lead.
The South African put his tee shot on the par-three 16th to tap-in range, but Slattery rolled home from 12 feet for a birdie of his own, and it was now a two-horse race, with two to play. After both players parred the 17th, Slattery needed a birdie to get back on level terms, but in going for broke he only ended up making bogey, giving Porteous a two-shot margin of victory.
“It’s been a really torrid time through the last nine months, and I’ve really started doing the right things and slowly but surely the golf has got a little bit better,” said Porteous, after picking up the trophy and the €166,660 first prize. “To get my second European Tour win under my belt feels amazing. When you start playing on the European Tour you can lose how you got out here in the first place, and to then find yourself again, and do the things you do to normally get on the Tour, is key. It’s just one tournament at a time, one shot at a time, and just make sure I do the right things and be professional in the way I do everything.”
Further down the leaderboard, Surrey’s James Morrison started with five birdies in seven holes to get into contention, but lost momentum on the back nine and signed for a 70 to finish in a share of fifth at eight under alongside Eddie Pepperell, Oscar Lengden and Jason Scrivener. Lee Westwood, looking to find some form ahead of this month’s British Masters, fired a closing 68 to finish on seven under alongside Scott Henry, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Matteo Manassero and Callum Shinkwin.