Golf: Late birdie rush gives Willett European Masters crown

Willett receives the red winners jacket from Omega president Stephen Urquhart.
Willett receives the red winners jacket from Omega president Stephen Urquhart.EPA

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland (AFP) - Englishman Danny Willett drained three late birdies and fired a bogey-free final round of 65 to win the European Masters by one shot over compatriot Matthew Fitzpatrick at Crans-Montana on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Yorkshireman, who held the halfway lead at last week’s British Open and eventually finished tied for sixth, hit a five-under par round that crucially included birdies at 13, 14 and 15 as Fitzpatrick, 20, paid the price for a bogey at the 11th.

Tyrell Hatton was alone in third spot on 15 under, as English players swept the top three places, with Sweden’s Pelle Edberg a further shot back in fourth and India’s Anirban Lahiri completing the top five on 12 under, five shots adrift of Willett.

“It was a great day,” said Willett, who was winning his third title on the tour.

“Yesterday (Saturday) was a bit disappointing, but today I played some really good golf.

“Matt (Fitzpatrick) was snapping at my heels all day, so I’m delighted to get the job done.

“I kept really calm all day, and just waited for the chances to come.

“Two wins and good performances in Majors and Golf Championships is more than I could have hoped for really, but I have worked really hard so it is nice to get the rewards for it.” added Willett, who is a former world number one at amateur level and had a successful college career in the United States.

Fitzpatrick was sporting in defeat and admitted the best man won on the day.

“I played to win but Danny just went one better, so you have to take your hat off to him,” said the youngster.

“I don’t have any regrets whatsoever, and that is all you can ask of yourself. I gave it everything, but Danny was very impressive.

“It is still only my first season on Tour and I am only 20, so I am still learning every week. Experiences like today’s (Sunday) will be invaluable in the future.” added Fitzpatrick.

Hatton, 23, recorded the best score of the day with a 62 that included an eagle and six birdies, but just came up short in his bid for a maiden EPGA title.