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Rock On Tommy!

Lewis makes the dream start to professional career

Posted Oct 17, 2011 by Chris White

Tom Lewis won his first professional event at the Portugal Masters

20-year old Tom Lewis birdied five of the final seven holes to win his first professional title at the Portugal Masters – in just his third appearance as a pro.

Lewis, who lead this year’s Open overnight after the first round, shot a closing round 65 to finish 21-under par on 267 to win the £375,000 prize fund, beating a field that included the likes of Padraig Harrington and Martin Kaymer.

Four successive birdies from Lewis starting at the 14th helped to set up the victory, and the youngster kept his nerve on the 18th, leaving him with an agonizing wait of almost an hour while the challengers completed their final rounds.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello was the nearest challenger, finishing two strokes behind the Englishman, who has risen more than 450 places in the world rankings with the victory in Portugal. Lewis started ranked 621st in the world, and now sits 166th. The win also gains him a two-year exemption on the European Tour, and leaves him in third in the current Ryder Cup qualification places, guaranteeing him a debut at the World Championship in Shanghai in November.

The victory in Portugal makes him faster at winning a professional tournament than Tiger Woods, who needed five attempts, and also Sir Nick Faldo, who played in 28 competitions before winning his maiden title. US Open winner Rory McIlroy needed 38 European Tour events before he landed his first victory.

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