Steven Brown had not improved 68 in tournament play all season, but this weekend he shot 65-66 on the final leaderboard of VilamouraPortugal Masters-17 S Brown (Eng); -16 J Walters (SA), B Stone (SA); -15 A Saddier (Fra); -14 C Paisley (Eng); -13 E Pepperell (Eng), J Wang (Kor); -12 J McLeod (Aus), J Singh Brar (Eng), A Sullivan (Eng), T Lewis (Eng), M Wallace (Eng), O Fisher (Eng) Selected others: -10 M Kaymer (Ger); – 7 J Donaldson (Wal), – 6 L Johnston (Sco); -3 P Lawrie (Sco), L Westwood (Eng) Full scoreboard
World number 550 Steven Brown shot a brilliant final round to win a first European Tour with the Portugal Masters and save his tour card.
Brown, 32, started the week 150th on the Race to Dubai list, but ended the event one free from the South African duo Justin Walters and Brandon Stone.
The Englishman was no higher than 11th all year round and had missed 18 cuts in the tournament before this result.
"I was counting down for the Tour School, so this is great," he said.
"I have had a calm mind in my head for the last few weeks. Even today I enjoyed having to go for it and not only trying to achieve good results.
" Me had to seize the opportunity. It was doing or failing this week. "
After an excellent six-under-par 65 on Saturday, Brown started the day three shots drifting from overnight leader Stone. But more importantly, he needed a top-three finish in the last full-field event of the Tour of the season to climb into the top 115 and retain his playing rights for 2020.
So Brown, a member of the Walker Cup team of Great Britain and Ireland in 2011, found the perfect moment to put together a flawless display of four birdies, a spectacular eagle on the par-five 12th and no shot shot for his six-under 66 over the Dom Pedro Victoria runway in Vilamoura.
That cost him until 17-under and he saw both Walters and Stone make late mistakes, making Brown the surprising victor.
Although Walters afterwards was emotional because his efforts in shooting a final round 66 were sufficient to also keep his card for next year.
The French Adrien Saddier finished fourth, while Chris Paisley of England shot the field with an eight-under 64 to fifth.