Jake McLeod – file photo

A final round ‘best of the day’ 63 by Queenslander, Jake McLeod, has provided the 25-year old with his best finish and the only top ten of his debut European Tour season to date after sharing 8th place at the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura on the Algarve Peninsula.

McLeod, who finished 3rd behind Abraham Ancer in last years Australian Open at the Lakes Golf Club, has struggled for much of his rookie year in Europe and has perhaps left his run too late to regain the status he earned by leading the Australasian Tour Order of Merit in 2018 but it will be a confidence building week nevertheless.

McLeod’s round included two back to back eagles on par 4 holes during his closing nine and saw him improve 31 places on day four to finish five shots from the winner.

McLeod moves to 150th in the race to Dubai Rankings with only next week’s lucrative WGC HSBC Championship in China remaining for him to improve his standing to the point where he will retain his status.

McLeod earns his start in Shanghai courtesy of winning the Australasian Tour Order of Merit last December.

McLeod will earn the equivalent of A$48,000 for his efforts this week, by far his biggest cheque of the year.

New Zealander, Ryan Fox, finished 31st, while McLeod’s fellow Australians Nick Cullen 40th and Min Woo Lee 63rd rounded out the Australasians who made it to the weekend.

The winner, Englishman Steve Brown, overturned a three-stroke deficit to win his first European Tour title and secured his playing rights for the 2020 season in the process.

Brown arrived in Portugal needing a top-three finish to secure his card for 2020 and started the final day in the Algarve in fourth place but a final round of 66 was good enough to see him win by one over South Africans Brandon Stone and Justin Walters.