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Willett Edges Fitzpatrick at European Masters
Danny Willett closed with a 5-under 65 to sneak past fellow Brit Matt Fitzpatrick and win the European Masters at Crans Montana Golf Club in Switzerland.
The 27-year-old Willett and the 20-year-old Fitzpatrick began Sunday tied for the lead. The two battled all day, with Willett posting five birdies and no bogeys to finish at 17-under 263.
Fitzpatrick, winner of the 2013 U.S. Amateur who turned pro prior to the 2014 U.S. Open and shot a third-round 64, bogeyed the first hole but quickly turned things around with four birdies through nine holes, making the turn in 32. Although he birdied the 14th and 15th holes, he couldn't overcome a bogey on the par-3 11th, finishing a stroke back of Willett.
"It was a great day," said Willett, who had a 71 on Saturday that helped bring Fitzpatrick into a share of the lead. "Yesterday was a bit disappointing, but today I played some really good golf. Matt was snapping at my heels all day, so I'm delighted to get the job done. I kept really calm all day, and just waited for the chances to come."
The victory was the third of Willett's career on the European Tour and moved him to second in the Race to Dubai behind leader Rory McIlroy. Willett is coming off a tie for sixth at last week's Open Championship in St. Andrews.
"Two wins and good performances in majors and golf championships is more than I could have hoped for really, but I have worked really hard so it is nice to get the rewards for it," he said.
Willett added that the young Fitzpatrick's fine was a spurred him on in the final round. "He played some great golf and really kept the pressure on me," Willett noted. "But it probably made it a bit easier to be honest, because it meant I could not lose concentration even for a minute. With a bigger lead you can take your foot off the gas a little bit, but today I knew I had to keep attacking and committing fully to shots, and luckily enough it turned out well in the end."
For Fitzpatrick, the chance to be in position for his first pro title was rewarding. "I played to win but Danny just went one better, so you have to take your hat off to him. I don't have any regrets whatsoever, and that is all you can ask of yourself. I gave it everything, but Danny was very impressive.
"There were a couple of turning points which decided it, but I matched him birdie for birdie for the most part. I know Danny very well, he is also from Sheffield so I am very pleased for him.
"I am really pleased with the week. It has been building for a few weeks now, so hopefully I can get over the line at some stage. It is still only my first season on Tour and I am only 20, so I am still learning every week. Experiences like today's will be invaluable in the future."
Alone in third was another Englishman, Tyrrell Hatton, who fired the low round of the day, an 8-under 62 that involved an eagle and six birdies. "I am really happy," said Hatton. "It is my lowest score on the European Tour, so even though I have come up just short I cannot be disappointed. To do it on a Sunday at a place like Crans is very special, so I'll enjoy this one for a while."
Sweden's Pelle Edberg closed with a 63 to take solo fourth at 266, while India's Anirban Lahiri and Spain's Sergio Garcia finished fifth and sixth, respectively, after each shot 64s.
Defending champion David Lipsky struggled to a 73 to end up tied for 16th at 6-undder 274, the same total as fellow American Patrick Reed.