Matt Fitzpatrick wins European Masters in playoff

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Matt Fitzpatrick wins European Masters in playoff

Euro Tour

Matt Fitzpatrick wins European Masters in playoff

It’s weird to say for a 23-year-old, but Matt Fitzpatrick is in the winner’s circle again after a solid absence.

The Englishman closed the Omega European Masters with a 6-under 64 Sunday to make up a four-shot deficit on Scott Hend and then defeated the Aussie in a three-hole playoff for the title.

Fitzpatrick finished 14 under for the week at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in earning his fourth European Tour title.

“I’m delighted,” Fitzpatrick said, via EuropeanTour.com. “It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win. I love playing this golf course, from the first ever year I came as an invite in 2014 it’s one that has really stood out on my schedule and I always want to come back and play.”

With this win, Fitzpatrick becomes the youngest Englishman to reach four European Tour wins. But he also ends a bit of a drought, as prior to this week Fitzpatrick had not won a European Tour title since last November (at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai).

Regardless, the 23-year-old star who burst onto the scene by winning the 2013 U.S. Amateur and ascending to No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking continues to show his mighty potential.

Fitzpatrick began Sunday two shots behind Hend, as the third round had been suspended before completion due to weather delays.

The margin doubled by round’s end as Fitzpatrick made a late bogey and Hend produced 1-under golf to finish his round via an eagle-bogey stretch.

Matters changed once the final round hit. After a birdie and a bogey in his first five holes, Fitzpatrick reeled off birdies at Nos. 6, 7, 8 to share the lead with Hend and stayed in that position after another birdie at No. 10.

Three straight birdies from Nos. 14-16 put Fitzpatrick fully in charge, two shots ahead.

But the tournament wouldn’t be his yet. Hend birdied the 15th while Fitzpatrick bogeyed the 17th to drop into a share of the lead. A closing par for Fitzpatrick and three straight to finish for Hend meant a playoff.

The pair returned to Crans-sur-Sierre’s par-4 18th, and both parred that first extra hole. Another trip to the 18th produced more excitement, as Fitzpatrick nearly rolled in a 25-footer for birdie and then Hend missed a golden 5-foot birdie chance to seal the victory.

A third trip down 18 finalized matters. Hend missed the green left and chipped his third over the green and almost into the water. After failing to chip in from there, he settled for bogey. Fitzpatrick calmly knocked in a 2-footer for par to secure the title.

This is the second straight year Hend, who closed in 2-under 70, loses this tournament in a playoff (he did so to Alex Noren in 2016).

Tyrrell Hatton tied for third at 11 under. Noren defended his title admirably, placing in a tie for sixth at 9 under.

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