South African Porteous wins Czech Masters

AFP
South African Haydn Porteous claims his first win in Europe  by beating England's Lee Slattery in the final round of the Czech Masters by two shots.
AFP
AFP

Jon Rahm of Spain plays a shot from a bunker on the 17th hole during the second round of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, on September 2, 2017.

South African Haydn Porteous claimed his first win in Europe on Sunday by beating England's Lee Slattery in the final round of the Czech Masters by two shots.

World No. 389 Porteous, whose only previous European Tour win came in Johannesburg last year, overhauled overnight leader Slattery to take the title with a 3-under-par final-round of 69 for a 13-under total.

It was the first tournament in the race to qualify for Thomas Bjorn's 2018 European Ryder Cup side, but most of the continent's big guns were in the United States for the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.

In their absence, the final day boiled down to a straight fight between Porteous and Slattery.

Tom Lewis posted a clubhouse target of 10 under for the tournament, but had to settle for a tie for third with 847th-ranked Swede Pontus Widegren.

Porteous started the round two strokes adrift of Slattery, but erased the deficit with birdies at each of the first two holes.

After a 3-under front nine of 33, back-to-back bogeys saw him slip into a tie for the lead with four holes to play.

But 39-year-old Slattery, looking for a third Tour win, faltered with a bogey after finding a fairway bunker on the par-4 15th.

Porteous appeared to have all but wrapped up the title with a stunning shot to two feet on the par-3 16th, but Slattery made a clutch birdie putt to stay just one shot behind.

Both players made par on the penultimate green but Slattery made a mess of the 18th hole to give Porteous some breathing space, and an excellent two-putt sealed the 23-year-old's fifth professional win.

In Norton, Massachusetts, big-hitting Jon Rahm jump-started his day with an eagle and catapulted into a two-stroke lead after the second round at the Dell Technologies Championship on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Inward half

Rahm sank his eagle putt from 12 feet at the par-5 18th, his ninth hole, and then added five birdies on his inward half for a 5-under-par 66 at TPC Boston.

"It felt like very different, that front nine and back nine," the Spaniard told reporters after posting a 9-under 133 halfway total in the second of the PGA Tour’s four FedExCup playoff events.

"I played a nearly perfect back nine. Felt like I didn't miss a shot. Once that (eagle) happened on 18 I felt everything clicked and I just started flushing everything."

Englishman Paul Casey and Canadian Adam Hadwin shot 65 to jump into a share of second place on 7-under with Americans Kevin Streelman (65) and Kyle Stanley (68).

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, the first-round leader, backtracked with a 72 that included two double-bogeys, falling five shots off the pace. Johnson leads the FedExCup standings after winning last week's Northern Trust tournament.

Former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy’s disappointing season continued as he shot 74 for 4-over and missed the cut in a tournament where he was defending champion. The Northern Irishman has yet to win this year.

Another former world No. 1, Adam Scott, also bowed out early at 4-over after the long trip from his native Australia earlier in the week.

Scott made a late decision to play following the birth of his second child. He can head back home now, because he will not be among the 70 players to advance to the penultimate event in the playoff series, the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois, in two weeks.

Rahm will have no such problems advancing. He is fifth in the FedExCup standings in his first full professional season that includes one win on either side of the Atlantic but mediocre performances in the four majors.

He did not make an auspicious start on Saturday, and a double-bogey at his seventh hole, where he took four shots to hole out from just off the green, left him 2-over for the day.

But the eagle steadied the ship, and it was smooth sailing thereafter as he stormed home in 31 strokes.


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