Australian Dimitrios Papadatos secured his maiden European Challenge Tour title with a gritty three-under-par 69 to win the Portuguese Open overnight.
The Australian started the final day in Portimão one shot behind overnight leaders José-Filipe Lima and Stuart Manley, but overtook them with two birdies in his first four holes and never looked back.
The 26-year-old New South Wales Central Coast pro, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, rolled in an 8m birdie putt at the tenth to extend his advantage over the chasing pack and despite dropping a shot at the par-five 16th he rallied to bag his fourth birdie of the day at the short 17th.
After coping with the windy conditions all day, Papadatos was left with a tricky 3m par putt on the 18th, but holed out with aplomb to set the clubhouse target at seven under.
With home favourite Lima unable to birdie the 18th to force a playoff it was Papadatos who was crowned champion, and he was delighted to have claimed his first victory in Europe.
“It feels pretty good and a big relief, especially after the last couple of days,” said Papadatos, who forewent the defence of his WA PGA title to play.
“It’s been very windy and difficult, you had to grind out results in such a bunched field when it’s very hard to break away and get in front. But I was fortunate enough to do that in the end.
“I played the course well today. I was very solid finishing long par putts, and I didn’t threaten to make many birdies as I was hitting it poorly today. But I hung in there and my short game was good and I took a couple of opportunities when I got them.
“I’ve had a couple of wins back in `Aus' and I’ve never won in Europe, so it’s maybe not the biggest but it’s definitely the most important as it’s going to get me going over here.
“I’ve been trying the last two or three years to get myself going in Europe and on to the main tour, so this is a big step forward and it’s going to help me out a lot.
“I flew into Portugal on Monday lunchtime and only booked my flights last Friday, so this tournament wasn’t even on my radar.
“I was just going to come over for Walton Heath for the US Open qualifier, but with my category I happened to get in here. I was second reserve for Spain next week, so the win might sneak me in there now.”
With victory in Portugal, Papadatos moves to ninth place on the Challenge Tour's Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings with 32,000 points.
The top 15 at season's end earn European Tour cards for 2019.