Fitzpatrick retains European Masters title

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland — Matthew Fitzpatrick sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to retain his European Masters title Sunday in a playoff against Lucas Bjerregaard.

In a tournament whose winners include Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood, the 24-year-old Fitzpatrick is the first back-to-back winner since Spanish great Seve Ballesteros 40 years ago.

Fitzpatrick had forced a playoff by making a shorter birdie putt on the same 18th green 20 minutes earlier to card a 3 under 67. That tied him with Denmark’s Bjerregaard, who fired a 7 under 63 to match the lowest round of the week.

Both finished with 17 under totals of 263 at Crans-sur-Sierre club in the sun-soaked Swiss Alps.

Fitzpatrick earned a winner’s check of more than 400,000 euros ($450,000) for his fifth career title. The Englishman last won on the same course one year ago.

“Of all my wins I’d definitely say that was the most difficult,” said Fitzpatrick, who was a rookie on Europe’s losing team at the 2016 Ryder Cup. “I just managed to grind it out.”

Mike Lorenzo-Vera (67) placed third, two shots back, playing in the final group with Fitzpatrick. The 33-year-old Frenchman led until making double bogey at the par-5 14th.

Westwood, the 1999 champion in the Swiss ski resort and a Ryder Cup vice-captain for Europe in Paris this month, finished tied for 12th Sunday. His level-par 70 left him 10 shots back on 7 under.

Fitzpatrick was two shots clear after his 63 Saturday, but let that lead slip dropping shots at Nos. 3 and 6. He got back both shots by the turn, then made three more birdies on the back nine.

Bjerregaard fired five birdies on the front nine, and two more at the back-to-back par-5s, Nos. 14 and 15. At the extra hole, the 27-year-old Dane pushed his second shot off the right edge of the green and failed to chip in.

Rose waits out the rain

NEWTOWN SQUARE — Two putts began taking on more significance with each rain delay until there was no golf at all Sunday at the BMW Championship.

Aronimink Golf Club already was saturated when a steady rain caused tiny streams and large puddles in the fairways, leaving the PGA Tour little choice but to wait until today to either play the final round or decide to cut short the third FedEx Cup playoff event to 54 holes.

“We had a golf course we couldn’t play,” said Slugger White, the tour’s vice president of competition. “We’re shoveling sand against the tide.”

Justin Rose was ahead by one shot, all because of one putt.

He was tied with Xander Schauffele on the 18th hole of the third round Saturday when Schauffele’s 8-foot par putt rimmed around the high side of the cup, giving him a bogey and Rose the lead.

Rose can go to No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career with a victory, making him the 22nd player to reach the top since the ranking began in 1986. He also would be the No. 2 seed behind Bryson DeChambeau among the top 30 who advance to the Tour Championship in two weeks, giving him a clear shot at the $10 million prize.

Keegan Bradley might be there, too, all because of one putt.

Bradley left his 50-foot birdie putt about 7 feet short on the 18th hole Saturday. He made that for par to finish the third round in sixth place, three shots out of the lead. That projects him to move up 22 spots into the 30th position in the FedEx Cup, which would bump out Jordan Spieth.

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