What is golf. And this Sunday in Valderrama, something cruel. Swedish Sebastian soderbergThe 31-year-old with a win on the European Tour, the 2019 European Masters, was comfortable leader of the Estrella Damm Andalucía Masters with two holes remaining (two strokes clear) but he sent the ball off the tee at 17 out of bounds, and came out of that hole with a double bogey-7. A setback that coincided with the first birdie of the day of Matthew fitzpatrick at 16. And this turnaround at the top of the standings (-4 for the Swede and -5 for the English) put the victory on a tray for the 27-year-old Briton with six victories on the circuit, who faced with more tranquility from which I could expect the last two holes. For more ‘inri’ Sodeberg closed his performance with a bogey at 18, for 70 strokes and 281 (-3).
Fitzpatrick, who was coming off a weak performance in the recent Ryder cup, he played a final round of manual: 15 solid pairs until he holed from three and a half meters to the pot on the 16th hole. And on the 17th, the par 5 with water in front of the green, he signed his second birdie and opened a gap of three shots already unattainable for his opponents with only 18 to play. In this 18 he saved a good pair and fist in the air of joy, which he shared with his caddy, the historical Billy Foster.
That’s how good old Matt signed the rubric to a brilliant Sunday for his interests. Like someone who does not want the thing, as if it were a little ant, but always attentive and firm in his convictions, Fitzpatrick waited for his moment and in the end, when it was necessary to have a cool head and the ‘guitar’ in tune, he made use of his experience . 69 strokes, two under par, for 278 (-6) and seventh European victory, placing 5th in the Race to Dubai. In the world ranking (28th) he will also rise several positions.
“Winning in Valderrama with the history it has is fantastic and without any bogey on Sunday it is incredible. It has a lot of value. It has been a very passionate day but I have hit very good shots in an authentic golf test for 72 holes. I have had a lot of patience and I have always known how to get out of the difficult situations in which I have found myself. I am really happy, “said Fitzpatrick at the foot of the 18th green.
Matt claimed his first European Tour win in his rookie season in 2015 and has only missed a win once in 2019 – when he finished second four times – finishing in the top 25 in the Race to Dubai in each of his seven seasons, including a second place finish in 2020. Won his first Rolex Series title at the 2020 DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, and came close to landing a second earlier this season as he lost in a tiebreaker with Lee at the Scottish Open.
Soderberg, Laurie Canter (he sank with 76 strokes and his first title will have to wait), Min Woo Lee … no one could overshadow Fitzpatrick at the height of the tournament. Patience paid off and the truth is that he is the best champion this tournament could have.
On this last day the Spaniards did not have any leading role and in the end the best was the professional from RCG El Prat Pablo Larrazabal, 20th with 285 strokes.
278 Matt Fitzpatrick (GBR) 71 68 70 69
281 Sebastian Soderberg (Sue) 70 69 72 70
Min Woo Lee (Aus) 73 71 67 70
282 Robert Rock (GBR) 72 68 73 69
Alexander Bjork (Sue) 72 71 70 69
Laurie Canter (GBR) 74 65 67 76
David Lipsky (USA) 71 75 64 72
285 Pablo Larrazábal (ESP / 20th) 71 72 72 70
286 Rafa Cabrera (ESP / 24º) 68 74 73 71
Alejandro Cañizares (ESP) 71 69 74 72
Sebastián Gª Rodríguez (ESP) 72 71 70 73
288 Jorge Campillo (ESP / 41º) 73 71 73 71
Nacho Elvira (ESP) 72 74 70 72
289 Álvaro Quirós (ESP / 47º) 73 73 71 72
291 Santiago Tarrío (ESP / 52º) 74 73 71 73
293 Gonzalo Fdez-Castaño (E / 56º) 77 68 72 76
294 Adrián Otaegui (ESP / 58º) 73 72 77 72
295 Martin Kaymer (Ale) 74 73 72 76