atthew Fitzpatrick used patience to win the Estrella Damm Andalucia Masters on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Englishman made par on the opening 15 holes of his final round at Real Club Valderamma in Sotogrande, Spain, biding his time before closing with two late birdies to win by three strokes over Sebastian Soderberg of Sweden and Min Woo Lee of Australia. Fitzpatrick’s victory was his eighth on the European Tour in his eight years as a member.
“It’s on the bucket list given the history that it has,” Fitzpatrick said of winning at Valderrama, the site of the 1997 Ryder Cup.“It’s extra special, considering the way I achieved it,” he added.
Fitzpatrick shot a bogey-free 2-under 69 for a 72-hole total of 6-under 278 and a three-stroke victory at the Andalucia Masters, according to the record books. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, was “patience personified,” as the announcers put it. He produced a critical sand save a few holes later to preserve his score immaculate, hitting a 15-foot par putt from the back fringe on the fifth green. Meanwhile, 54-hole leader Laurie Canter struggled throughout his quest for his first victory, finishing in a tie for fourth place with a score of 76.
Soderberg proved to be the man to beat for Fitzpatrick, as he stormed to the top of the standings after a blistering start. He was 4 under through four holes, including an eagle on the fourth, and was two strokes ahead of Fitzpatrick at 6 under with two holes to play. However, at the par-5 17th, the Swede blasted his tee shot to the right and out of bounds, compounding his folly by missing three putts for double bogey.
Fitzpatrick, who was making his first start since going winless for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup, pounced on the 16th hole with his first birdie of the day, edging to 8 feet.
Fitzpatrick went up and down from just beyond the green at 17 for back-to-back birdies and solidified the final gap. Soderberg made par at the last after another wayward drive to the right.
“I’m ecstatic,” Fitzpatrick exclaimed. “You can hit half-decent shots and be chipping out behind a tree.” It’ll be a true test.”