Fitzpatrick hits the jackpot with Masterful wire-to-wire win
ENGLAND'S Matt Fitzpatrick claimed his first European Tour title with a wire-to-wire victory in the British Masters on Sunday, taking his season's earnings to more than £1million.
Fitzpatrick carded a closing 68 at Woburn to finish 15 under par, two shots ahead of Offaly man Shane Lowry, Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen.
The 21-year-old from Sheffield began the final round tied for the lead, with Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, but a level-par front nine of 35 left him two shots adrift of Zanotti and Kjeldsen. A birdie on the par-five 11th closed the gap and Fitzpatrick made it a three-way tie for the lead with another from close range on the 12th, before a massive turning point on the par-five 15th.
Kjeldsen looked set to gain the upper hand when he found the putting surface in two, only to run his eagle putt off the green and narrowly miss the birdie attempt.
In the group behind, Fitzpatrick holed from 20 feet to take the outright lead for the first time and things went from bad to worse for Kjeldsen when his pushed drive on the 16th finished at the base of a narrow tree.
From there, the 40-year-old could only advance his ball to within 50 yards of the green and when he failed to get up and down, Fitzpatrick had a two-shot lead which he maintained in brilliant fashion with a birdie from four feet on the 17th after Zanotti had holed from outside.
The victory lifts Fitzpatrick from 111th in the world rankings to just inside the top 60 and within sight of his goal of a place in the top 50 to secure a return to the Masters in April.
After winning the US Amateur title in 2013, Fitzpatrick played alongside defending champion Adam Scott and US PGA winner Jason Dufner at Augusta in 2014, missing the halfway cut by a shot.