Fitz has a mountain high

September 10, 2018

 

Hallamshire's Matthew Fitzpatrick won a play-off against Lucas Bjerregaard to retain his OMega European Masters title – the first man in 40 years to successfully defend, following in the shoes of Seve Ballesteros.

Fitz began the final round four shots ahead of Bjerregaard but the Dane signed for a brilliant 63 to set the target at 17 under and the Tyke had to birdie the 72nd hole to take it to sudden death.

Fitzpatrick, 24,  then put his approach to 12 feet on the first trip back up the 18th and sank the birdie putt to go back-to-back at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

Sunday had developed into an three-way battle between Fitzpatrick, Bjerregaard and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, with the Frenchman right in it until he bogeyed the last after hitting into the water.

Lorenzo-Vera finished two shots back, three shots clear of Spaniard Nacho Elvira and four ahead of England's Daniel Brooks.

It had gone to extra holes in 2017 too when Fitzpatrick beat Scott Hend.

He also became the youngest Englishman to get to notch European Tour victories, with wins every year since joining the tour in 2014.

“This is what I wanted to achieve this season - another win,” he said. “To get it here again is so special and to get my fifth is amazing. I love this place.

“Of all my wins I'd say that was definitely the most difficult. I didn't have my A game today, despite loving this place I just didn't play my best today. I managed to grind it out, made some crucial birdies coming in and I'm delighted. This is one of my best.

“The up-and-down on seven was key. After just making bogey on six, which is kind of my favourite hole, making birdie there got me back on track and within touching distance.”

It certainly was a tough day because having enjoyed a healthy lead to start play, he found himself having to play catch up, two shots back himself.

Lorenzo-Vera birdied the first and when Fitzpatrick flew over the back of third and could not get up and down from out of the trees, the lead was shared.

Bjerregaard had holed a 35-footer on the first and was on fire getting into a three-way tie.

He led alone when he drove the green at the par four seventh, with Lorenzo-Vera dropping a shot on the fourth but picking it straight back up on the next.

When Fitzpatrick three-putted from the fringe  he was suddenly two off the lead.

It was nip and tuck and when Lorenzo-Vera's second into the 14th flew into the bushes over the back of the green and after a penalty-drop and a three-putt, Bjerregaard suddenly led by two.

Fitzpatrick then got up and down on the 15th green as Bjerregaard set the target with three closing pars.

Lorenzo-Vera found the water with his approach to the last to end his hopes of victory but Fitzpatrick put his second to six feet and took it back down the 18th.

 

 

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