The progress has been steady, albeit a little slower than Lucas Bjerregaard had been hoping. The 26-year-old from Denmark had paired with countryman Thorbjorn Olesen to win the European Tour’s GolfSixes event in May, what Bjerregaard had hoped would be a spring board to a more steady presence on the European Tour. But in his next 11 events, he could only muster one top-15 finish and saw himself fighting to get inside the top 100 in the Race to Dubai standings to keep his tour card.
Yet a glimmer of hope surfaced earlier this month at the Omega European Masters, when he finished T-9. And Bjerregaard carried that momentum over to this week’s Portugal Masters, where he took a one-stroke lead into the final round at Dom Pedro Victoria G.C., then shot a closing 65 to win his first official European Tour title by a comfortable four strokes over Scotland’s Marc Warren.
“It feels good,” Bjerregaard said. “It’s been a rough year for me so to be in contention again feels really good.”
Bjerregaard never allowed doubt to enter into his mind, making birdies on four of his first eight holes and sitting five under for the round through 11 holes. It also prevented challengers—most notably Warren and three-time European Tour winner George Coetzee—from making a charge. Warren at one point cut Bjerregaard’s lead to two strokes with an eagle on the 17th hole but bogeyed the 18th to finish with a closing 67.
Goetzee had made three birdies on his round and was within three strokes before making a triple-bogey 7 on the last hole to fall to T-7.
With the win, Bjerregaard jumped from 114th on the Race to Dubai standings to 48th, comfortably getting him into the tour’s final playoff events later this fall. More importantly, the win secured his tour card through the 2018 season.
“Today is up there with one of my best rounds,” Bjerregaard said. “Not so much the six under around here, I’ve done that before, but under the pressure some of the shots I hit—the two shots I hit on 17 are some of the best I’ve hit in a long time.
“I felt pretty confident. My girlfriend asked me this morning if I was nervous and I said, ‘No, don’t worry I’ve got this’, probably more to calm her down than anything. I’ve been in this position a couple of times before so to finally come through and get my first win feels really good.”
Bjerregaard’s win was a popular one among his close friends. Olesen joined him on the 18th green to give him a champagne celebration. And another countryman, 2018 European Tour Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, was quick to congratulate Bjerregaard via social media.