Jordan Smith wins Portugal Masters, Jazz Janewattananond retains Tour card, grief for Renato Paratore
Jordan Smith produced a tee-to-green masterclass to get the better of a duel with Gavin Green to win the Portugal Masters, while Jazz Janewattananond and Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez were able to breathe a sigh of relief after retaining their playing rights for next season.
England’s Smith is one of the purest golf club swingers in the game, but has suffered a series of near-misses since winning his first DP World Tour in 2017.
A cold putter has often been Smith’s Achilles heel, but it all clicked at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club this week as he posted a tournament-record score of 30 under – although that won’t count as he was favored due to wet fairways.
Smith firmly takes control of Portugal Masters after searing round
YESTERDAY AT 5:15 PM
Green proved a thorn in the side for some big spells on Sunday, but he rocked the Malaysian on the turn and managed to get it on three shots.
“I said I wouldn’t do that,” an emotional Smith said. “I’m really happy with what I’ve done this year.
“It’s been really good, and I’m really happy.
“There was a lot of pressure that I put on myself, and others put on me, and it’s good to finally get that second win.”
A new putter and change in grip transformed Smith’s fortunes on the greens, and he showed the advantage of the change by rolling in a monster eagle putt on five.
- 1. Jordan Smith, under 30
- 2. Gavin Green, under 27
- 3. Tapio Pulkkanen, under 22
- 4. Eddie Pepperell, under 21
- T5. Sebastien Heisele, under 19
- T5. Hurley Long, under 19
- 7. Joost Luiten, under 18
Green stuck to Smith like a limpet on the front nine, as the two were out in 31 strokes.
Smith’s first moment of alarm came when he blew a right tee shot on the 11th, one of the week’s few misses, and got stuck in front of a tree.
He took a penalty, dialed in and arrowed his approach to six feet and stroked the putt for a par.
“That terrain, about 100 yards under that tree, going up and down and getting it to five feet was a big part of the round,” Smith said.
Green was in chase mode on the back nine, but his challenge came unstuck when his tee shot on the 14th hit the water. It resulted in a bogey and ended his challenge, but with a score of 27 under that most weeks would win tournaments by far.
Renato Paratore putt 65ft on the final hole but the Italian was heartbroken as he finished outside of the magical 117th place and will now have to go to qualifying school to get his card.
Sebastian Heisele didn’t claim victory under 19 but there were emotional scenes as he headed into retirement after a final lap of 69.
Eddie Pepperell failed, but again showed that his turn may soon be near. It was an iron game clinic from the Englishman, but he suffered a cold putter on Sunday as he missed a series of workable putts.
He tossed his ball into the water in frustration after a birdie putt stayed above the ground on the 12th. A hole later, the golf gods were smiling on Pepperell as he landed a monster putt for a birdie on a round of 65 to reach 21 under.
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Jazz Janewattananond was one of the players who entered the event with his playing rights for next season in doubt. He scratched until the weekend and was on the edge of the back nine on Sunday, but he produced one of his best swings of the year at the 17th par five to arrow a fairway wood from 12 feet and he rolled into the eagle putt. This proved to be enough to secure his playing rights at 116 in the standings.
Garcia Rodriguez seemed sure to give up his Tour card after missing the cut, but a string of scoring from some players set in and he finished just on the number 117.
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