Play-Off Heartbreak for Hend

September 11, 2017

Matthew Fitzpatrick poses with the trophy at the Omega European Masters. Picture by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Crans Montana, Switzerland: Matthew Fitzpatrick beat Scott Hend in a play-off after a thrilling final-day battle to win his fourth European Tour title at the Omega European Masters.

The Englishman came into the final round at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club four shots behind Australian Hend after dropping a shot in the final three holes of his third round on Sunday morning.

He had caught nine-time Asian Tour winner Hend by the eighth and when he birdied the 14th, 15th and 16th, he had a two-shot lead before a bogey on the penultimate hole left him back in a share of top spot at 14-under.

Hend lost this event in a play-off to Alex Noren last season and he suffered more late heartbreak in the mountains with Fitzpatrick parring the third extra hole to take the title in the only tournament on European soil to be co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours.

Hend missed a six-footer for victory on the second trip back up the 18th and when he found sand off the tee and went through the back of the green with his second, a par was enough to hand Fitzpatrick victory.

“I had the opportunity and I didn’t take it,” said Hend. “It’s just what happens when you don’t take your opportunities. Fitzpatrick played great to win. He’s a good champion.”

Fitzpatrick had finished in the top-10 at this event the last two years and this was the second time he had been involved in a final-day shoot-out after losing to countryman Danny Willett by a single shot in 2015.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win. I love playing this golf course. From the first year I came as an invite in 2014 it is one that has really stood out on my schedule and I always want to come back and play.

“I was saying to (caddie) Jamie: ‘I think 17 might have cost us today’ but it’s just one of those things. It’s never nice to see but we kept our nerve and just played really smart all week.

“I remember being here in 2015 when Dan won and his parents were there to see him win so it’s nice to have mine here too. It’s the third win they’ve seen me achieve so it’s pretty special.”

England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti finished at 11-under, a shot clear of Finn Mikko Ilonen and two ahead of Darren Fichardt, defending champion Noren and Lee Slattery.

Hend dropped a shot after finding sand off the tee on the par-three third and when he hit a poor tee-shot on the next to surrender another bogey, the lead was down to one.