Fitzpatrick beats Hend in thrilling playoff

AFP
Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick claims his first win of the season by edging out Scott Hend on the third playoff hole of a dramatic European Masters in Switzerland.
AFP
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Matthew Fitzpatrick of England putts during the final round of the European Masters in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on September 10, 2017.

Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed his first win of the season by edging out Scott Hend on the third playoff hole of a dramatic European Masters in Switzerland on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick fired a fantastic final round of 64 to reach 14 under par overall, before Hend's capitulation on the players' third sudden-death trip down the 18th handed him a first victory since last year's Tour Championship.

Australian Hend, who lost to Swede Alex Noren in a playoff at the same event 12 months ago, missed a six-foot putt for the title on the second playoff hole before falling apart minutes later.

After the players had completed their weather-delayed third rounds in the morning at Crans-sur-Sierre, Hend held a three-shot lead over Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.

But world No. 48 Fitzpatrick, 23, looked to have carved out a tournament-winning lead as a trio of birdies on the back nine put him two clear with two holes remaining.

Hend, playing in the final group, found a birdie at the par-5 15th though, before Fitzpatrick bogeyed the penultimate hole to leave the pair tied at the top and headed for a playoff on the par-4 18th.

Both two-putted from 30 feet to take pars on the first sudden-death hole, before returning to the final tee box as the playoff was extended.

The 44-year-old Hend struck a magnificent iron shot to six feet from the pin, only to pull his putt for a third European Tour victory past the lip.

He had the wind knocked out of his sails by that poor miss, and dumped his next tee shot into a fairway bunker, before firing the ball against the grandstand behind the green.

Hend completely fell to pieces, with his next chip flying back over the putting surface and stopping only narrowly short of the water hazard.

Playing the last hole for the fifth time in the day proved a step too far for the Aussie, as his bogey allowed Fitzpatrick to tap in for the win.


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