Fitzpatrick capitalises on late Soderberg collapse to win Andalucia Masters

By Sports Desk October 17, 2021

Matt Fitzpatrick bounced back from Ryder Cup woe by claiming his seventh European Tour win as the Englishman took full advantage of Sebastian Soderberg's late capitulation to clinch the Andalucia Masters title.

Overnight leader Laurie Canter rarely looked as though he would get the win to secure his first €1million season, his five over par seeing him finish tied for fourth.

Soderberg looked to be the one to capitalise on Canter's fall, with the Swede playing some fine golf at times – his exceptional par save at the ninth, consisting of a wonderful chip to within a few inches of the hole, seeing him reach the turn three under for the round.

Another excellent up-and-down at 11 earned him a birdie and the lead.

Although a bogey on the 13th pegged him back, Soderberg quickly got that shot back with another birdie on 15 as he looked well-placed to go on and take the trophy.

But the timing of his costly double bogey on the 17th could not have been worse as Fitzpatrick – a hole back – simultaneously ended a streak of 15 pars with his first birdie of the day. Over the course of a single hole, Soderberg went from a two-shot lead to trailing by one.

Fitzpatrick – playing in his first tournament since making it two Ryder Cup appearances without a point – quickly turned that into a two-shot lead of his own before closing out with a par that left him at six under for the tournament, three clear of the rest of the pack.

While Fitzpatrick is by no means a stranger to successes on the Tour, victory at Valderrama was particularly special.

Asked how he felt afterwards, Fitzpatrick said: "Amazing, particularly the way I did it, staying patient all day, didn't try to press anything. We stuck to our targets and I managed to hole the putts at the end.

"It's one for the bucket list to win around Valderrama with the history it has, and doing it with a bogey-free Sunday, it's extra special, so I'm delighted.

"You can hit half decent shots and then be behind a tree, you're chipping out or you've got to manoeuvre something. It's a true test to be patient for the whole 72 holes, I'm really pleased with my attitude all week."

Soderberg ultimately finished tied for second with Min Woo Lee, while seven players were an additional shot back.

Related items

  • Woods 'would love' to make competitive return at 'favourite golf course' St Andrews next year Woods 'would love' to make competitive return at 'favourite golf course' St Andrews next year

    Tiger Woods wants to make his return to professional golf in next year's Open Championship at St Andrews, his "favourite golf course in the world."

    The former world number one and 15-time major champion suffered serious injuries to his right leg after a car crash in February and previously revealed he had feared the limb would have to be amputated.

    However, the 45-year-old is now targeting a part-time comeback to competitive golf and has his eyes on a tournament that is particularly special to him.

    "I would love to play at St Andrews, no doubt about it," Woods said. "It's my favourite golf course in the world. Even the Champions' Dinner is really neat to be part of.

    "I attended my first one in 2005 and Peter Thomson was still alive at that time. I was sat next to him and to hear him tell his stories was awesome.

    "It's like at the Masters. Those dinners are priceless. It's an honour to be part of a room like that.

    "I'd love to be able to play that Open Championship and hopefully I can."

    Woods had previously returned from major back surgery to claim a shock 2019 Masters victory but on Monday he ruled out a full-time return this time around.

    He accepts his days at the very top of the sport are likely over after the injuries he sustained earlier this year, though Woods was philosophical about the situation.

    "I don't foresee this leg ever being what it used to be," Woods added on Tuesday. "The clock's ticking. I'm not getting any younger.

    "I won't have the opportunity to practice [the way I used to] given the condition of my leg. That's okay.

    "As far as playing at the tour level, I don't know when that's going to happen. I'll play a round here and there. A hit and giggle.

    "To see some of my shots fall out of the sky a lot shorter than they used to is eye-opening but at least I'm able to do it again."

  • Woods hoping for part-time return to golf but rules out permanent comeback Woods hoping for part-time return to golf but rules out permanent comeback

    Tiger Woods is hoping to return to professional golf on a part-time basis and revealed that he feared he would have to have his leg amputated following serious injuries sustained in a car crash in February.

    Woods suffered open fractures to his right tibia and fibula in the accident in California and the 45-year-old explained that losing his leg was a serious possibility.

    The 15-time major champion accepts that he will never return to the sport on a full-time basis, but believes he can play occasionally if his leg recovers fully.

    "I think something that is realistic is playing the [PGA] tour one day – never full time, ever again – but pick and choose, just like Mr [Ben] Hogan did," Woods told Golf Digest. "Pick and choose a few events a year and you play around that.

    "It's an unfortunate reality, but it's my reality and I understand it and I accept it. There was a point in time when, I wouldn't say it was 50-50, but it was damn near there if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg."

    Woods was previously forced to go through a number of operations on his back, but recovered well enough to claim a shock 2019 Masters victory.

    This time around, however, he says he will be more conservative.

    "I don't have to compete and play against the best players in the world to have a great life," Woods continued.

    "After my back fusion, I had to climb Mount Everest one more time. I had to do it, and I did. This time around, I don't think I'll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that's okay.

    "I can still participate in the game of golf. I can still, if my leg gets okay, I can still click off a tournament here or there. But as far as climbing the mountain again and getting all the way to the top, I don't think that's a realistic expectation of me."

    Los Angeles police said in April that Woods' crash was caused by excessive speeds that led him to lose control of the vehicle he was driving.

    Police examined data recorded from the vehicle – a 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV – and found he was driving at speeds in excess of 80mph in an area with a 45mph speed limit.

    He was travelling at an estimated 75mph when he hit a tree, with officers believing the five-time Masters champion might have inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake as there was no evidence of braking.

  • 'I just wanted to spank you' – Koepka takes down rival DeChambeau in The Match 'I just wanted to spank you' – Koepka takes down rival DeChambeau in The Match

    Brooks Koepka earned bragging rights in his feud with Bryson DeChambeau after besting his PGA Tour foe in the latest edition of 'The Match'.

    Koepka and DeChambeau have been at loggerheads on the PGA Tour, tensions high since 2019 when the former called out the latter for slow play.

    DeChambeau responded by taking aim at fellow American Koepka's physique in 2020.

    The pair came together to help the United States to a record-setting Ryder Cup triumph over Europe in September, but they renewed their rivalry in Las Vegas on Friday.

    In a 12-hole exhibition showdown at Wynn Golf Club, four-time major champion Koepka celebrated a 4 and 3 victory in the match for charity.

    "Not going to lie, I just wanted to spank you," Koepka told 2020 U.S. Open winner DeChambeau upon clinching victory on the ninth hole.

    "I haven't played in two months," DeChambeau told TNT. "No excuses, though. I should have done better."

    Mid-match, DeChambeau asked Koepka rhetorically: "Where is this on the PGA Tour? You're playing so good right now".

    "It's kind of like my major right now, right?" Koepka replied.

    Afterwards, Koepka said: "Obviously, watching him up close and personal is pretty neat, pretty special to watch him hit the ball.

    "Like I said, there is respect there, but at the same time it was fun to come out here and settle this." 

    DeChambeau added: "I've always had respect for Brooks. He's won four major championships and what he's done for the game.

    "At the end of the day it was 12 holes and he got me. So, hopefully, there will be a rematch sometime soon." 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.