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Matthew Fitzpatrick savours play-off triumph at European Masters

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Young talent Matthew Fitzpatrick of England lifted his fourth professional title after prevailing on the third extra hole in a two-way play-off against Australian Scott Hend at the Omega European Masters on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Fitzpatrick marked his best efforts of the week when he fired eight birdies against two bogeys to close with a six-under-par 64, forcing extra time with Hend, who signed for a 68, after the duo were tied on 14-under-par 266 total in regulation play.

 

Both of them parred the first extra hole after returning to the par-four 18 at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club. Hend, who had held the lead since the opening round, missed a 10-footer birdie chance to settle for a second straight par alongside the young Englishman on the second extra hole.

A third consecutive par in the play-off duel proved enough for Fitzpatrick to seal the deal as the 44-year-old Hend hit a wayward drive to put himself back in the fairway bunker and then over the back of the green before settling for a bogey.

Hend, a nine-time Asian Tour winer, was left to rue a missed opportunity after suffering a play-off heartbreak for the second straight year at the Swiss showpiece, which is the only tournament on European soil to be co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours.

Hend, however, took over the driver’s seat on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with his runner-up finish and put himself in the running for a second Merit crown after he became the first Australian to top the money list in 2016.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay returned with rounds of 66 and 68 respectively to settle three shots back in third place at the €2.7 million (approximately US$3.25 million) event.

Fitzpatrick shared after his win, "It was absolutely nerve-wracking out there. I got off to a great start after the front nine and after the birdie on 10, I just felt like I was out there to compete and trying my best to win. It has been a long day.

"It was a great final round. It was the lowest round of the week for me and it’s probably my lowest round in my competition here. It’s always nice to do it on the Sunday. It’s always very special.

"I supposed no one wants to see Hend losing the play-off again but it’s just one of those things and I felt bad about it. I played really nicely to win today. I love this golf course. It’s fantastic. It really suits my game.

"My parents are here this week. It’s really nice for them to witness my win. It’s incredibly great to have them out there with me in tournaments, especially so when it’s a tournament that you win. It’s fantastic."

Scores after round 4

266 - Matthew FITZPATRICK (ENG) 67-65-70-64, Scott HEND (AUS) 64-63-71-68.

269 - Tyrrell HATTON (ENG) 64-71-68-66, Fabrizio ZANOTTI (PAR) 66-65-70-68.

270 - Mikko ILONEN (FIN) 70-70-66-64.

271 - Lee SLATTERY (ENG) 75-62-68-66, Alex NOREN (SWE) 70-67-68-66, Darren FICHARDT (RSA) 65-63-74-69.

272 - Andres ROMERO (ARG) 69-68-69-66, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 65-66-74-67, Ryan FOX (NZL) 65-67-72-68, WU Ashun (CHN) 69-69-66-68, Richard STERNE (RSA) 68-65-70-69, Duncan STEWART (SCO) 65-70-68-69, Lucas BJERREGAARD (DEN) 68-67-67-70.

273 - Daniel IM (USA) 66-68-73-66, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 69-69-69-66, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 70-66-68-69, Alexander BJORK (SWE) 68-65-69-71.

274 - Julien QUESNE (FRA) 70-68-70-66, Tom LEWIS (ENG) 70-68-71-65, Marcus ARMITAGE (ENG) 68-70-69-67, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 68-67-71-68, Ricardo GOUVEIA (POR) 67-72-67-68, Julian SURI (USA) 67-65-72-70, Nacho ELVIRA (ESP) 70-64-70-70, Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 69-70-65-70, Stephen GALLACHER (SCO) 68-65-70-71, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 68-68-66-72.