Weekend winners: Fitzpatrick on top of the world, Spieth prevails Down Under
European Tour: DP World Championship – Matt Fitzpatrick
The 22-year-old Fitzpatrick traded places with fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton on the final hole to secure his third win on Tour and his second of the season.
Hatton (68) had enjoyed a seamless day, picking up five birdies before holing from sand at the 71st hole. But he then found water off the last tee and made six while Fitzpatrick got up and down from sand at the last for a crucial birdie.
For Fitzpatrick it was quite a day; he became the youngest Englishman to win three European Tour titles, beating Sir Nick Faldo’s previous best from 1980 by 220 days.
And he picked up a cheque for €1,217,174 as well as a further €319,509 as part of the top 10 Bonus Pool.
Likewise for Henrik Stenson, the Swede secured the Race to Dubai for the second time and he pocketed an additional $1.25m bonus from the $5million Bonus Pool. He becomes the 12th player to finish No 1 on more than one occasion.
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What Fitzpatrick said: “It’s been a long year for me, and I’ve got to admit, this is just icing on the cake. As a year goes, it’s been a great one.
“I had a rough idea (what happened to Tyrrell) on the last. I saw that he had missed a putt and there were a few groans in the crowd. But it wasn’t until I saw the scores and that I knew what I needed for the win. Tyrrell, he’s a great lad, he was just coming down and I saw him as I was walking into the scorer’s and he said congratulations. For someone to do that after he’s been in contention is very special. He’s a credit to the tour.”
What Stenson said: “It was a nice way to finish. If you’re going to be Europe’s Number One, you don’t want to finish with a 75, even if you can afford it. It was nice to play some good golf finally and to shoot a good number on a Sunday. That never hurts.
“It’s been a great year, the best year of my career. I’ve always thought it was going to be hard to top 2013, but I think I’ve done that this year.”
Australian Open – Jordan Spieth
The last time Spieth won this tournament, in 2014, it sparked the most ridiculous year for the American. This time he did it in a three-man play-off at Royal Sydney.
The world No 5 birdied the first extra hole to beat home favourites Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall, Hall was closer to the hole but pushed his putt. Now only Spieth and Nicklaus are the only Americans to win the Australian Open more than once.
For Smith and Hall there was the consolation of a place in next year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale along with Aaron Baddeley, who was tied fourth. Baddeley edged out Rod Pampling, Jason Scrivener, Ryan Fox and overnight leader Geoff Ogilvy by virtue of his superior world ranking.
Spieth had a wobble around the turn with three bogeys but a 69 was enough to get him into extra holes.
What Spieth said: “The way we played the playoff, I think is going to do wonders for me,” Spieth told reporters. “To hit those two shots in there, right where I wanted to hit them, and then to make the putt is really big going forward.”