England’s Matt Wallace has held his nerve to complete a sensational wire-to-wire victory at the Open de Portugal.
He held a five shot lead at the halfway stage at the Morgado Golf Resort and went into the final round three strokes clear of the field. But Wallace, who opened the event with a stunning 10 under 63, saw his advantage reduced to a single shot, firstly by German Sebastian Heisele and then American Julian Suri.
But the 27-year-old rolled in birdies at key times and produced his third bogey-free round of the week to sign for a closing four under 69 and 21 under par total.
After a sedate start featuring six straight pars, Wallace made gains at the 7th and 9th holes to keep his nose in front.
However, with Suri looming, it was a five iron third to tap-in distance following a poor drive at the par-5 13th that set up a birdie to send him two clear again, and another birdie at the 16th sealed victory in style
Suri rattled in nine birdies in his first 15 holes only to ease the pressure on Wallace slightly when he dropped his only shot of the day at the 17th, eventually finishing three shots back at 18 under.
France's Matthieu Pavon was third on 16 under, with Heisele and England's Sam Walker a shot further back in fourth.
"It's the best feeling ever,” Wallace said. “It's always been a dream to win on the European Tour. Those first two days were really easy, that third day was the hardest day of my life and today was tough but it's so satisfying and I'm really happy.
"The best shot was definitely on the par-5 13th, I didn't hit a great tee shot and managed to get away with it and get out on to the fairway. I left myself 200 yards and managed to hit a 5-iron stiff. That was the turning point where I thought 'right, I've got this'.
“I didn't see it coming, I never envisioned standing here, I just tried to go through my processes and work as hard as I could to be standing here today. Portugal is going to have a place in my heart now.”
Wallace won six times on the Alps Tour last season – five of those victories were in consecutive events – to secure a place on Europe’s secondary Challenge Tour.
Now he has a full European Tour card for the remainder of the 2017 season after maintaining the winning habit in only his fourth event at this level.
Victorian Ben Eccles was the best of the Australians, finishing T48 after a final round 70 saw him finish at five under and make some valuable gains up the leaderboard. WA’s Daniel Fox was a further two strokes back and T64.