Matthew Fitzpatrick edges closer to the European Tour’s Race to Dubai top 10
Former DP World Tour Championship winner Matthew Fitzpatrick held his nerve to defeat Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard in a play-off to defend the Omega European Masters title and edge closer to the European Tour’s Race to Dubai top 10.
The Englishman, who became the first player to successfully defend his title at Crans-sur-Sierra Golf Club since Seve Ballesteros in 1978, entered the final round with a two-shot lead over France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera after carding a bogey-free third round of seven under 63.
But Bjerregaard matched that in a blistering final round to force Fitzpatrick to birdie the last to take the tournament to extra holes.
Fitzpatrick, who also won the Swiss title last year by way of a play-off, coolly put his approach to within 12 feet on the first trip back up the 18th before sinking his birdie putt to get his hands on European Tour silverware for the fifth time.
The 2016 Ryder Cup debutant picks up 487,500 Race to Dubai points with the win and jumps up 10 places from 23rd to 13th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
“That was tough, that was really tough,” said Fitzpatrick. “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.
“This is what I wanted to achieve this season – another win. To get it here again is so special and to get my fifth is amazing. I love this place.”
At 24-years-and-eight-days-old, the former British Masters champion also becomes the youngest Englishman to reach five European Tour victories, having won in every season since coming through Qualifying School in 2014.
“After the disappointment of missing out on a second appearance at the Ryder Cup, Matthew has bounced back superbly with another play-off triumph in Switzerland,” said Nick Tarratt, director European Tour international Dubai office.
“It’s no mean feat to win back-to-back at an event but Matthew has shown he is capable of great things over the years with sublime performances around the world including his memorable victory at the season-ending 2016 DP World Tour Championship.
“We look forward to welcoming the former champion back to Jumeriah Golf Estates at the end of the season.”
Bjerregard looked set for his second European Tour title after his sublime final round but had to settle for second place after only making par on the first play-off hole.
The 27-year-old jumps up to 24th from 38th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
Lorenzo-Vera’s final round 67 saw him finish two off the lead in third place. The result moves him up to 42nd from 56th in the Race to Dubai and all but seals his spot at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
The top three in the Race to Dubai remains unchanged with Italy’s Francesco Molinari leading the way, American Patrick Reed in second and reigning Race to Dubai champion, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, in third.
The DP World Tour Championship takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 15-18.