Coetzee holds of chasing pack to win Portugal Masters title

FILE PHOTO: Golf - European Tour - British Masters - Close House, Newcastle upon Tyne, Britain - September 30, 2017 South Africa's George Coetzee reacts during the third round Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

(Reuters) - South Africa’s George Coetzee captured his fifth European Tour title on Sunday after firing a five-under-par 66 in the final round of the Portugal Masters to seal a two-shot victory over England’s Laurie Canter.

It was the first Tour title in Europe for the 34-year-old, who went 16-under for the tournament at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.

Coetzee, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, had birdies in the seventh and eighth holes before adding gains on the 11th, 16th and 17th to edge out Canter, who also carded a 66 on Sunday.

“... I’m ecstatic, it’s the work me, my psychologist and my coach have been doing. It’s nice to see it pay off,” said Coetzee, who lost the lead after parring his first six holes.

But he regained the advantage heading into the turn and added three birdies on the back nine before making a par on the 18th to stave off the chasing pack and seal the victory.

“I think I hide it (nerves) pretty well,” Coetzee added.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood, the pre-tournament favourite, was three shots behind Coetzee after finishing with a fine 64 and was tied for third alongside Joakim Lagergren of Sweden.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge