On Sunday Matt Fitzpatrick became the first Englishman to win the Andalucía Masters as he took advantage of world number one Jon Rahm's early exit from the tournament. Fitzpatrick pulled off an orderly comeback to win at the Real Club Valderrama, where he finished with a score of 69, six below par, on his way to pick up the coveted oak tree trophy.
Fitzpatrick remained calm even when luck wasn't on his side. He underperformed with his putt shots, but ultimately ended the tournament with a two birdies and not a single bogey to his name. Overnight leader Laurie Canter was out of the running as he racked up several mistakes, paving the way for Sebastian Soderberg to take the lead up until the pitiless 17th hole. There, the Swede slipped up with a double bogey followed by another bogey on the 18th which handed Fitzpatrick the lead on a silver platter after his consecutive birdies on the 16th and 17th.
|1. Matt Fitzpatrick||2. Sebastian Soderberg||-. Min Woo Lee||4. James Morrison|
It was mission accomplished for Fitzpatrick, who was ecstatic after his victory. "It's on the bucket list to win around Valderrama, with the history that it has. To do it bogey free on Sunday as well is extra special," he said.
The Englishman also explained the difficulty of the course as one where you cannot relax on any of the holes. "Hole 16 is a tough driver, 17, disaster can happen, 18, par is a great score. That was how I felt all day. I felt if I could hang in there, hang around and pick up a couple of birdies, pars were never a bad thing, and that’s what I did," he said.
This win is Fitzpatrick's first of the season, his seventh on the European Tour, is now fifth in the Race to Dubai and will enter the world's top 25 players.
Juan Marín, vice president of the Junta de Andalucía and regional minister for Tourism was present in the last day of the tournament to show his support for an event that he considers to be fundamental for showing off Andalucía to the world's media.
The politician presented Fitzpatrick with the trophy and he explained the economic contribution that the tournament has given the region as well as its capacity to draw both national and international tourists.
The competition attracted 36,541 spectators over the course of four days and looks set to continue to expand in future editions as Andalucía cements itself as a venue for important competitions.