Fitzpatrick wins play-off to defend European Masters title

Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland: Matthew Fitzpatrick edged out Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard in a play-off on Sunday to become the first man to successfully defend the European Masters title at Crans Montana since Seve Ballesteros 40 years ago.
The 24-year-old Englishman, who missed out on a Ryder Cup wildcard pick earlier this week, birdied the 18th hole to reach 17-under par for the tournament and force a play-off, before repeating the feat on the first sudden-death hole to claim victory.
It was Fitzpatrick’s fifth European Tour title in only three years.
“This is what I wanted to achieve this season — another win,” he told “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 world number 44 took a two-shot lead into the final day, but started slowly with two bogeys in the first six holes to slip two strokes adrift of Bjerregaard.
But he steadied the ship and a birdie at the par-five 15th saw him cut the gap to just a single shot.
His playing partner, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, led briefly before a costly double-bogey on 14, and both were left needing to birdie the last to tie Bjerregaard in the clubhouse.
Lorenzo-Vera bogeyed, but Fitzpatrick fired an excellent iron shot to just a few feet and converted the putt with ease. Another strong approach to the same green followed just minutes later, with a dead-eyed putt securing the win. — AFP
European Masters final scores
(par 70/GBR & IRL unless stated):
263 – Matthew Fitzpatrick 69-64-63-67, Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN) 68-65-67-63
— Fitzpatrick won with a birdie on the first play-off hole
265 – Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 68-66-64-67
268 – Nacho Elvira (ESP) 66-69-67-66
269 – Daniel Brooks 69-67-64-69
270 – Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 65-66-71-68, Wu Ashun (CHN) 70-65-65-70
271 – Darren Fichardt (RSA) 68-71-68-64, Pachara Khongwatmai (THA) 68-71-68-64, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 67-69-68-67, Doug Ghim (USA) 68-65-67-71
273 – Wang Jeung-hun (KOR) 71-68-70-64, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 65-70-69-69, Lee Westwood 68-69-66-70, Gavin Green (MAL) 69-69-63-72
274 – Laurie Canter 68-69-72-65, Callum Shinkwin 69-69-70-66, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 69-70-69-66, Richard McEvoy 72-67-68-67, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 67-72-68-67, Nino Bertasio (ITA) 70-67-65-72, Haydn Porteous (RSA) 69-65-66-74