Champion Fitzpatrick second as Paratore wins first European title

Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick.
Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick.
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SHEFFIELD’S Matt Fitzpatrick finished just one shot off a play-off in defence of his Nordea Masters crown in Malmo.

Victory went to Italy’s Renato Paratore, who claimed his first European Tour title after overnight leader Chris Wood bogeyed the final hole.

Paratore carded a closing 70 at Barseback Golf and Country Club to finish 11 under par, the 20-year-old crucially saving par on the 18th after being fortunate to have a shot to the green following a wayward drive.

Playing in the group behind, England’s Wood also pulled his tee shot on the last into the trees and was forced to take a penalty drop from an unplayable lie, the resulting bogey dropping him into a tie for second with compatriot Fitzpatrick.

The Yorkshireman was left to rue a double bogey on the third after carding seven birdies in a final round of 68, with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and South Africa’s George Coetzee sharing fourth place on nine under.

Coetzee had surged through the field with a closing 66 that featured two bogeys in the first three holes and nine birdies, while Barseback member and Open champion Henrik Stenson finished in a tie for 26th after a 69.

Paratore is the youngest winner on the European Tour since GolfSixes team-mate Matteo Manassero, who walked the final few holes with his fellow Italian after finishing his own round.

“I couldn’t be happier now. This win means a lot to me,” Paratore said. “I was one behind the leader so I knew if played well I could win and in these tough conditions I kept a good attitude until the end.

“The key points were on eight and nine where I made birdie to come back after a bit of a difficult start. I played more or less solid and the last three holes I managed three very good pars.

“It’s big for my confidence because I was looking for this win the last year and now I’ve achieved that so it’s very nice for me.”

Fitzpatrick said on Twitter: “Just came up short... really pleased with how I played (yesterday), nice to see the work put in pay off!”