From wrong ball mix-up to maiden victory, Thomas Pieters had quite a week. Pelle Edberg, Renato Paratore and Matthew Fitzpatrick also had reason to be cheerful.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters held off the challenge of Pelle Edberg and Matthew Fitzpatrick to win the D+D REAL Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort.
Pieters began the final round one shot clear and started promisingly with a birdie on the opening hole. But he then stumbled with a double-bogey at the third. That opened the door for Edberg who held the lead until Pieters struck back with birdies at the 9th and 10th holes to regain a share at the top of the board.
On the run for home, Pieters proved to be the strongest finisher. A birdie at the 13th saw him move two clear after Edberg had bogeyed the 11th. The 23-year-old held steady over the closing holes and a birdie on the last saw him close out a three-stroke victory. It was his first win on the European Tour.
“To be a European Tour winner is an amazing feeling. I’m happy to have my family with me and I’m very proud,” he said.
Englishmen Matthew Fitzpatrick and Robert Dinwiddie finished the week in third and fourth place respectively.
Four Talking points from the D+D REAL Czech Masters
1 – Thomas Pieters displayed great mental strength this week in Prague. Not only did the young Belgian hold his nerve down the stretch to claim a maiden European Tour title, but he also bounced back from a mix-up on the third day that would have sent many for six psychologically. On the 11th hole in round three, Pieters played a ball from the rough that he believed to be his, only to then find his actual ball a few yards away. That mistake cost him a double-bogey but he stayed calm and carded three birdies in his last seven holes to card a superb 65. “It’s my mistake,” he said philosophically. “But I’m really happy with the way I played.
2 – Pelle Edberg may be disappointed he narrowly failed to secure his first European Tour victory, but the 36-year-old can console himself with the fact that his second place finish and the accompanying cheque for €111,110 has secured his playing rights for 2016. He now has over €300,000 in earnings this year and is up to 67th on the Race to Dubai. It will be quite a relief for the Swede that he won’t need to head back to Q-school. He earned his card for this season via that route at the end of 2014 – it was the 14th time he had been to Q-school over the years.
3 – 18-year-old Renato Paratore scored his first top-10 finish on the European Tour. The young Italian had shared the lead after a first round of 65 but dropped back with rounds of 73 and 70. He bounced back well on Sunday with a 69 to claim a share of fifth. Like Edberg, this finish should secure his place on the European Tour in 2016. He’s one to watch.
4 – Another man knocking on the door of European Tour success is Matthew Fitzpatrick. The Englishman started fast in the final round at the Albatross Golf Resort with four straight birdies but he wasn’t able to keep up that sort of pace and he had to make do with a third place finish. He’s enjoyed a superb first full season on the circuit. He’s picked up more than €600,000 in prize money. “I’ve exceeded my expectations at the start of the year by a country mile,” he said. D+D REAL Czech Masters Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, Czech Republic Aug 27-30 Purse: €1,000,000, par 72
1 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 66 68 65 69 268 €166,660 2 Pelle Edberg (Swe) 66 67 67 71 271 €111,110 3 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 66 67 71 68 272 €62,600 4 Robert Dinwiddie (Eng) 69 67 68 70 274 €50,000 T5 Roope Kakko (Fin) 67 72 68 70 277 €35,800 T5 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 67 69 67 74 277 €35,800 T5 Renato Paratore (Ita) 65 73 70 69 277 €35,800 T8 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 70 70 71 67 278 €20,600 T8 Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 67 73 69 69 278 €20,600 T8 Eduardo De La Riva (Esp) 65 76 69 68 278 €20,600 T8 Craig Lee (Sco) 68 71 69 70 278 €20,600 T8 Damien McGrane (Ire) 69 70 71 68 278 €20,600
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly.
Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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