Maiden win for Lewis

England’s Tom Lewis hasn’t been a professional for very long, but he already has his first European Tour victory to show for it.

England’s Tom Lewis hasn’t been a professional for very long, but he already has his first European Tour victory to show for it.

The 20-year-old confirmed his status as a superstar in the making by claiming victory in the Portugal Masters on Sunday – in only his third event since turning professional.

This coming only three months after shooting the lowest ever Open Championship round as an amateur, while he was also helping Europe to a Walker Cup win over the USA in the amateur matchplay event just one month ago.

Tiger Woods needed five events as a pro before his picked up his first win, while Rory McIlroy played in a full 38 events before he first lifted a trophy.

Lewis shot a final-round 65 at Oceanico Victoria GC to beat Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, the third-round leader, by two shots.

Lewis earns a whopping £375,166 first prize cheque, though that certainly wasn’t what motivated him to victory on Sunday.

“I’ve not thought about the money – I was thinking about winning,” said Lewis, who made 22 birdies and only one bogey in his last 52 holes in Vilamoura.

Lewis was still a full seven shots behind with seven holes to play during the final round, but he birdied the par-five 12th with a two-putt and then produced a superb four-birdie run starting at the 14th.

“I was just happy shooting in the sixties no matter where I finished. If you had said I would finish 21 under I would have said ‘No way’,” he added.

He also needed some help from the front-runners, and that’s precisely what he got as previous joint leaders Peter Hanson, Christian Nilsson, Felipe Aguilar and Cabrera-Bello all found the water during the closing stretch.

Lewis subsequently parred the final hole and had to wait for an hour as others finished to see if it would prove enough.

Now, instead of a trip to the Tour school in December, he has earned a two-year exemption on the European Tour.

“I would not have expected this at all,” he said. “I was really dreading going to the qualifying school at the end of the year, but it looks like I’ve skipped that.”

Lewis is determined to keep his feet on the ground, however.

“I’m a long way behind Rory and have a long way to go,” he said.

“To have two years on the European Tour, I would not have dreamt that at the beginning of the week, so I’m really pleased.”

Cabrera-Bello finished in second, recovering from a double-bogey seven at the 12th and another bogey at the 14th to pick up three more birdies from the 15th.

Joint third with Nilsson and Aguilar were England’s David Lynn, France’s Gregory Havret and South African George Coetzee.