Matt Fitzpatrick secures Andalucia Masters success with three-shot victory… as he moves on from Ryder Cup heartbreak with seventh win of his career
- Matt Fitzpatrick produced an impressive display to prevail in Andalucia Masters
- Fitzpatrick’s success helped him to move on from frustration of the Ryder Cup
- He managed to get the better of Laurie Canter and Sebastian Soderberg
- Fitzpatrick made it two Ryder Cup appearances without a point in Wisconsin
How appropriate that a Ryder Cup venue proved the setting as Matt Fitzpatrick moved on from last month’s bitter disappointment at Whistling Straits with a fine win in the Andalucia Masters on Sunday.
Playing for the first time since Europe’s whipping in Wisconsin, the 27-year-old found the claustrophobic confines of tricky Valderrama far more to his liking as he hunted down fellow Englishman Laurie Canter and Swede Sebastian Soderberg with a final-round 69 for a three-stroke success.
It was the seventh victory of his career and the only Englishmen to win that many titles at a younger age were Sir Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Peter Oosterhuis.
Matt Fitzpatrick celebrates after he managed to secure glory in the Andalucia Masters
He joins a list of Valderrama winners including Sergio Garcia, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Faldo and Seve Ballesteros, who also captained Europe to victory there in the 1997 Ryder Cup.
‘It was on the bucket list to win round here with all its history and to do it with a bogey-free round on Sunday afternoon feels extra-special,’ said the Sheffield man.
Fitzpatrick left the Ryder Cup feeling unlucky to emerge pointless from three matches and determined to end the season on a high. He can occasionally look short of artillery on courses with wide open fairways that suit the bombers, but proper tests such as Valderrama play right into his skilful hands.
Fitzpatrick was playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup as he looked to move on
This was a masterclass in Faldo-esque patience as he waited for his less experienced rivals to crack.
While Canter struggled after building up a three-stroke lead early on and Soderberg fell apart completely over the closing two holes, Fitzpatrick hit the front for the first time at the 16th, where he followed up 15 pars with a precious birdie.
At the dauntingly difficult par five 17th, where Soderberg lost a ball to run up an ugly seven, Fitzpatrick calmly posted another gain that effectively sealed his triumph.
Now fifth in the Race to Dubai, he will have the chance to win the season-long pursuit when it reaches its climax in the Middle East next month.
Laurie Canter started well but struggled after building up a three-stroke lead early on
At the final event, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, it just so happens that Fitzpatrick will be the defending champion.
For Canter, 31 from Bath, who led by two strokes going into the final round, it was another learning experience following his runner-up finish at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
He shouldn’t be too down on himself, for it’s hard to imagine a harder course to win for the first time than this one, where the margins are so small.
In New York, in the first women’s European Tour event to be staged in America, there was more English success on Saturday as Charley Hull held off world No 1 Nelly Korda by a shot to win the individual title in the Aramco Team Series — her first victory since 2019.
Sebastian Soderberg was in contention but fell apart completely over the closing two holes
The prodigiously gifted Korda clan did take the main prize, with sister Jessica’s victory in the team section.
On the PGA Tour, it was as if the clock had gone back seven years as Rickie Fowler held a two- stroke lead over Rory McIlroy going into the final round of the CJ Cup in Las Vegas last night.
Fowler finished second and third when McIlroy won the Open and USPGA Championship in 2014.