Sunday, 11 October 2015
Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter praised the fans that turned out in their droves as the British Masters supported by Sky Sports made a triumphant return to The European Tour.

57,047 spectators lined the fairways over the four competition days at Woburn as Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed his first professional win at a tournament that has not been part of The European Tour International Schedule since 2008.

Local hero Poulter acted as tournament host and the 12-time European Tour winner was delighted with the response, with Sky Sports Thursday seeing 15,000 tickets handed out for the opening day.

To have the fans come out like they came out the last four days has been incredible - Ian Poulter

He added: "We had 15,000 fans on Thursday, we've had something similar every day from then on in. They've come out in their thousands and that's what this place needs.

"British golf has been away for too long. This tournament, being able to bring it back the way we have, is a huge honour.

"I'm very proud to be associated with this golf course and the Golf Club itself."

The 39 year old could not quite produce the performance that the local fans wanted to see as he went 68-70-70-72 to finish four under, 11 shots behind Fitzpatrick, but he is determined to rediscover his best form.

"I couldn't do it this week, my game is not quite there," he said. "I need to go home, I need to sit down and have a real good think about my golf game and see how we're going to get it back."

Luke Donald will also act as tournament host at a future British Masters, along with Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, with each man choosing their own course to stage.

And the former World Number One was delighted to have another event on home soil.

"I've loved it," he said. "I've loved the crowds, I've loved the golf course, it's great to have this tournament back.

"Just seeing the crowds out there - four, five deep on every fairway - is obviously acknowledgement that it's the right decision, that we need as many tournaments as we can in the UK.

"It's great to have this one back."

Donald began the final round three shots behind Fitzpatrick but could not match the winner as he finished four shots back following a 69, and admitted to some frustration that he could not mount a challenge down the stretch.

"I really struggled today on the golf course for whatever reason," he said. "I didn't have very good control of the golf ball, it was a very good grinding round but you've got to take solace in that too.

"When you're not on you can still grind out a two under par round of 69 so that's good in its own self.

"I would have liked to have played better and given myself a chance."

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