Sunday, 11 October 2015
Matthew Fitzpatrick - British Masters Champion  (Getty Images)
Matthew Fitzpatrick - British Masters Champion (Getty Images)

Matthew Fitzpatrick held off the challenge of Søren Kjeldsen, Shane Lowry and Fabrizio Zanotti to claim his first European Tour title at the British Masters supported by Sky Sports.

The 21 year old rookie was the youngest player in the field but showed all the experience gained from his four previous top three finishes this season as he carded a closing 68 to finish two shots clear on 15 under at Woburn.

The Englishman had been in great form all week and became the fourth wire-to-wire winner this year as the event returned for the first time since 2008 with 57,047 fans turning out to watch the action.

"It's not going to sink in for a long time, I know that," he said.

It was a long day and I didn't really know what I had to do to win but I just sort of ground it out and managed to win. A great day - Matthew Fitzpatrick

"The fans have just been incredible to me and unbelievably supportive and I can't tell everyone how appreciative I am of that. Walking down every hole it's, 'Come on Matt' and it's amazing to have that support."

He added: “This year my goal was to keep my card, and to be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do that after the start of my year. But I managed to start playing well and making more cuts and just picking up cheques, and then the past two months, I guess, I really got going. I made a lot of money and was able to secure my card in The Race to Dubai. It's great.”

Kjeldsen and Zanotti had been battling at the top of the leadeboard all day but had to settle for a share of second alongside Lowry after a pair of 69s, while the Irishman finished with a 67.

Zanotti rattled in a birdie on the first from 12 feet to move alongside Fitzpatrick as joint overnight leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat started with back-to-back bogeys.

Kjeldsen picked up a birdie on the second to make it a three-way tie at the top and the leading trio then all bogeyed the third and birdied the fourth to leave the leading group at 12 under.

Fitzpatrick would then go on a run of six consecutive pars as Kjeldsen and Zanotti went blow-for-blow around the Marquess' Course.

Kjeldsen, after missing two makable birdie putts on the fifth and sixth, made four on the 538 yard par five seventh but so did Zanotti and the pair also made gains on the ninth to open up a two-shot lead at the turn.

Lowry had been in the chasing pack with birdies on the fourth and sixth - the latter courtesy of a 35-foot putt - and he drove through the green to set up a birdie on the par four 12th to join the group at 12 under.

And that group was soon just him as Fitzpatrick birdied the 11th after an approach to six feet and Aphibarnrat, who had recovered from his poor start with gains on the third and ninth, found the reeds on the 12th and dropped a shot.

Fitzpatrick had no such trouble as he put another stunning approach inside three feet and moved into a share of the lead with six holes to play.

He had clearly found his range with the irons and was within eight feet again on the 13th but saw his birdie putt lip out as an errant tee shot led to Zanotti dropping to 13 under and Aphibarnrat made double to see his chances disappear.

Lowry also saw his hopes take a blow with a bogey on the 14th but he soon made it back on the par five 15th to get back to 12 under where he was joined by Zanotti who made it back-to-back bogeys.

Kjeldsen three-putted on the par five 15th to squander a good chance to move ahead and Fitzpatrick capitalised despite finding the sand off the tee as he put another wedge close and made birdie to get to 15 under.

Kjeldsen then made a bogey on the 16th as his tee shot ended up behind a tree and all of a sudden Fitzpatrick led the 40 year old and Lowry, who had birdied the 17th, by two.

Zanotti birdied the 16th and 17th to get to within a shot of the leader but Fitzpatrick made a two of his own on the penultimate hole to open a two-shot lead which he held on to despite a bogey on 18.

Aphibarnrat picked up shots on the 15th and 18th holes to get to 11 under after a 72 and was sat alongside Luke Donald, who closed with a 69, and Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Marcus Fraser who both carded 67s.

Oliver Fisher, who came into the week 130th in the Race to Dubai, shot the joint low round of the day with a 65 to sit at 10 under in a group with Julien Quesne, Anthony Wall and Chris Wood.

Tommy Fleetwood also recorded a 65 and he was a further shot back alongside Richard Bland, Tyrrell Hatton and Robert Karlsson.

Graeme Storm was the other man to sign for a 65 and he was five under alongside Graeme McDowell whose remarkable 72 included an eagle, four birdies, four bogeys and a triple bogey.

Tournament host Ian Poulter was a further shot back at four under after also shooting a 72.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T2LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-13
T2ZANOTTI, FabrizioPAR18-13
T5FRASER, MarcusAUS18-11

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