Matthew Fitzpatrick successfully defends Omega European Masters title

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Matthew Fitzpatrick successfully defends Omega European Masters title

Euro Tour

Matthew Fitzpatrick successfully defends Omega European Masters title

Matthew Fitzpatrick followed in the footsteps of Seve Ballesteros by successfully defending the $2.9 million Omega European Masters Sunday at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

The 24-year-old’s fifth European Tour victory made him the first player since Ballesteros in 1977 and 1978 to win the European Masters in back-to-back years.

The Englishman defeated Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard in a one-hole playoff after the pair finished 72 holes tied at 17 under.

Fitzpatrick returned a closing 3-under 67, but had to birdie the final hole to force a playoff with Bjerregaard, who shot 63. He birdied the hole again in the playoff after hitting his approach shot to 12 feet.

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

Fitzpatrick has won in every year as a professional since coming through the 2014 European Tour Qualifying School. He also becomes the youngest English player to reach five wins at 24 years and 8 days old. Sir Nick Faldo was 25 years and 65 days old when he won his fifth European Tour event, the 1982 Haig Whisky TPC.

The 2013 U.S. Amateur champion moves from 23rd to 13th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, and could move inside the Official World Golf Ranking top 40 from his current position of 44th.

Unfortunately, the win comes a week too late for Fitzpatrick to make his second Ryder Cup appearance. The one time Northwestern player could have made the European team if he’d won last week’s Made in Denmark event. He placed T-7.

Doug Ghim’s dream of securing a place on next year’s European Tour went south when the victorious 2017 U.S. Walker Cup player could only manage a 1-over 71. Victory would have given Ghim full playing rights for next year, while second place would have moved him close to the top 110 who earn 2019 cards. Ghim finished T-8.

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