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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > Portugal Masters > Round 4
 

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Lee Westwood ends two year winless streak

Britain’s former European number one Lee Westwood won the Portugal Masters on Sunday to move top of the 2009 order of merit.

A closing six-under-par 66 for a 23-under 265 four-round total earned the Englishman his first European Tour title in more than two years. He finished two strokes ahead of Italy’s Francesco Molinari.

Westwood’s $730,000 first prize took him comfortably past the previous money-list (Race to Dubai) leader Rory McIlroy, who finished well down the field.

Trailing double U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen by three strokes overnight, Westwood took a firm hold of the tournament with birdies at the first four holes.

Molinari, recovering from a double-bogey on the seventh, caught Westwood by the 12th, only to let his rival get away by missing a putt of under three feet on the 16th to bogey.

Westwood survived a visit to the Victoria club gardens after a wayward approach to the long 17th green and his birdie there with a stunning shot from over trees closed out Molinari.

He told reporters after his 19th European Tour win: “I had just the start I wanted today and from then on played patient golf just like I did 10 years ago.

“I said a couple of weeks ago I needed to win twice to have chance of winning the order of merit, so I’m looking for the other one now. Winning is definitely a habit and I’d got out of it. Hopefully I’ve got the habit back.”

Including the $15 million Dubai World Championship finale, there are a maximum five events left for the order of merit title-chasers.

McIlroy tried to make it difficult for Westwood to overhaul him and lay eight-under for the day playing the last. When he found water, the 20-year-old Northern Irishman had to settle for a 66 and 12-under, earning him only 30th place.

Three-times major champion Padraig Harrington, citing dehydration for a lack-lustre third round, chased the leading pair hard but the Irishman ran out of steam.

Despite a bogey on the last for a 67, Harrington, finishing four strokes behind Westwood, took third, a shot better than Swede Peter Hanson (68) and Germany’s Marcel Siem (67).

South Africa’s Goosen slipped away badly, closing with a 75 to end on 271, six shots behind the winner.

 

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