SHEFFIELD’S Matthew Fitzpatrick began his final round with four consecutive birdies before eventually shooting a 68 to take third place in the Czech Masters in Prague.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters made history as he claimed his maiden European Tour title with a three-shot victory.
The 23-year-old’s triumph made him the youngest Belgian to win in European Tour history, aged 23 years and 215 days as he beat Philippe Toussaint’s previous record of 25 years and 48 days when he won the 1974 Benson & Hedges Festival at Fulford in York.
Fitzpatrick said: “It’s a good week for me, finishing third. I got off to a great start [Sunday]. It would have been nice to have carried it on.
“I gave myself great chances on five, six, seven and eight, and then stalled on the back nine. I was a couple of clubs out on a couple of holes, but I can’t complain. At the start of the year I would have taken finishing third here.
“I keep coming close so I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, keep putting myself in positions and hopefully it will come. It was always going to be difficult being five behind at the start of the day, but I got it going early on.
“But it is difficult to keep going low hole after hole. I just stalled on the back nine.
“I’ve already exceeded my expectations at the start of the year by a country mile so I’ve just got to keep going in the right direction. It’s my 21st birthday [this week] so I’m looking forward to going to America to celebrate with my friends and then get ready for five on the spin.”
He has moved up to 37th in the Race to Dubai standings with winnings of €609,640 after banking his Prague cheque for €62,600.
Overnight leader Pieters, who turned professional two years ago, recorded a final round 69 – after recovering from a double bogey on the front nine – which included five birdies as he sealed a 20-under-par win.
Three shots further back at the Albatross Golf Resort was second-placed Pelle Edberg, who trailed by one shot after the third round, recorded birdies on the first, second and ninth holes, but bogeys on the third and 11th saw him finish with 71 on 17 under.
England’s Robert Dinwiddie was fourth after three birdies on the front nine before a mixed back nine of three bogeys and two further birdies saw him finish with 70.
Three shots further back and in a three-way tie for fifth were Italy’s Renato Paratore, Roope Kakko of Finland and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.