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GOLF: English­man de­fends Euro­pean Masters with play­off vic­tory

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ROSS ALEXAN­DER

Matt Fitz­patrick has no is­sues with be­ing left out of the Ry­der Cup, de­spite win­ning the Omega Euro­pean Masters ti­tle in Switzer­land.

The English­man claimed a play-off vic­tory over Lu­cas Bjer­re­gaard to be­come the first man since Seve Balles­teros in 1978 to de­fend the crown in the week where he missed out on a cap­tain’s pick for this month’s match play com­pe­ti­tion.

Euro­pean skip­per Thomas Bjorn chose to go with ex­pe­ri­ence for his four wild cards, pick­ing Ian Poul­ter, Paul Casey, Hen­rik Sten­son and Ser­gio Gar­cia, mean­ing Fitz­patrick will have to wait to add to his 2016 ap­pear­ance.

The 24-year-old ac­cepts he has not played well enough to war­rant a call.

Asked if he had any re­grets at miss­ing out, he told Sky Sports: “Not at all, gen­uinely I don’t.

“I didn’t play well enough this sum­mer, it’s as sim­ple as that.

“I don’t hold any­thing against Thomas for not pick­ing me, I com­pletely un­der­stand why he has gone for ex­pe­ri­ence, it is vi­tal in Ry­der Cups.

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

Fitz­patrick had to work hard for his re­peat suc­cess in the Swiss Alps, though, as he needed to birdie the fi­nal hole to force a play-off – de­spite com­ing into the fi­nal round with a two-shot lead.

Two early bo­geys did not help, but it was mainly the form of Bjer­re­gaard that made it a dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon.

The Dane fired a blem­ish-free sev­e­nun­der-par 63 to come through the pack and have the club­house lead.

Fitz­patrick hus­tled on the back nine and three birdies – in­clud­ing the one at the 18th – sent it to an ex­tra hole, where he sent in a 10-footer for vic­tory.

“It was re­ally tough, of all of my wins this was the most dif­fi­cult,” he added.

“I didn’t have my A-game to­day. I just didn’t play my best, I man­aged to grind it out, made some cru­cial birdies com­ing in. I am de­lighted, this is one of my best.

“I feel I am play­ing way bet­ter now than I was this time last year. I can’t say how happy I am.”

Stephen Gal­lacher was top Scot, tied for 23rd on -5, with David Drys­dale a shot fur­ther back at four un­der, shar­ing 30th place, and Scott Jamieson tied for 35th on three un­der.

Picture: Getty.

Matt Fitz­patrick with the Euro­pean Masters tro­phy fol­low­ing his play-off vic­tory yes­ter­day.

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