• Fitzpatrick defends, Fichardt shines

    Matt Fitzpatrick
    Double please

    Matt Fitzpatrick beat Lucas Bjerregaard in a playoff to become the first man in 40 years to successfully defend the title at the Omega European Masters.

    The Englishman started the day four shots ahead of Bjerregaard but the Dane carded a brilliant 63 to set the target at 17 under and Fitzpatrick had to birdie the last to take it to extra holes.

    The 24-year-old then put his approach to 12 feet on the first trip back up the 18th and another birdie saw him become the first player since the late, great Seve Ballesteros to go back-to-back at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

    The final day had developed into an enthralling three-way battle between Fitzpatrick, Bjerregaard and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, with the Frenchman right in it until he bogeyed the last after finding the water.

    Lorenzo-Vera finished at 15 under, three shots clear of Spaniard Nacho Elvira and four ahead of England’s Daniel Brooks.

    Fitzpatrick needed extra holes to beat Scott Hend in the mountains last season and became just the third player this term to mount a successful defence after Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka.

    At 24 years and eight days old, he also becomes the youngest Englishman to get to five European Tour victories, having won in every season since coming through the Qualifying School in 2014.

    ‘This is what I wanted to achieve this season, another win,’ he said. ‘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 up-and-down on 7th was key. After just making bogey on 6th, which is kind of my favourite hole, making birdie there got me back on track and within touching distance.’

    Darren Fichardt went out in 31 and birdied both of the back nine’s par fives to finish in a ¬†share of eighth with Charl Schwartzel and two others.

    Schwartzel birdied three of his last four holes to sign for a 67.

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