Jonathan Caldwell signed off a tough week at Valderrama with a fourth consecutive over-par round at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters to finish well down the leaderboard.
The Clandeboye man concluded his tournament with his second best round of the week, a three-over 74 featuring five bogeys and two birdies, to finish in 65th place in Spain.
That was a whopping 20 shots back of winner Matt Fitzpatrick, the Englishman firing a two-under 69 in his final round to finish at six-under, three shots ahead of Sebastian Soderberg and Min Woo Lee to claim his seventh European Tour title.
It had looked like it could be a good week for Caldwell after a one-over 72 in his opening round had him hanging around the top-20, but second and third rounds of 75 and 77 dropped him well out of contention going into Sunday.
It was a week where the 37-year-old couldn’t tame Valderrama, which was playing as tough as its reputation in all four rounds. In total, despite carding nine birdies, Caldwell had 17 bogeys and three double-bogeys in his 72 holes.
On Sunday, his bogey trouble began as early as the second hole and, although he birdied the third to get back to level, further dropped shots came at the fourth and seventh.
Two more strokes went at the 11th and 15th, but Caldwell will take confidence from a birdie at the 17th to round off his scoring at least, even though this result drops him three places in the Race to Dubai to 96th.
The Scandinavian Mixed champion only has three more events left in which to break into the top-60 in the order of merit and qualify for the DP World Tour Championship and, positioned where he is, he will likely need a win or a couple of top-10 finishes to achieve that.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick admitted he had ticked an item off his golfing bucket list by putting aside a second straight Ryder Cup without a point to his name to claim the victory at Valderrama after a bogey-free two-under 69 on day four.
The 27-year-old capitalised on a horror finish from Soderberg to triumph, the Swede holding a two-shot lead with two holes to play at six-under but losing his tee shot on the 17th on his way to a double-bogey and bogeying 18 to drop back to three-under.
Soderberg’s misfortune was Fitzpatrick’s gain, the Englishman having parred his first 15 holes to stay within striking distance and then making his move as his rival faltered, birdieing the 16th and 17th to claim a lead he would not relinquish.
“Winning around Valderrama is something you want to tick off on the bucket list. To do it in the way that I did, with no bogeys in the final round was extra special,” he beamed.
“I felt if I could hang in there, hang around and pick up a couple of birdies if possible, pars were never a bad thing, and that’s what I did.
“You can hit half decent shots and be behind a tree and you’re chipping out or you’ve got to manoeuvre something, it’s a true test and to be patient the whole 72 holes, I’m really pleased with the way my attitude was all week.”
Behind them, Lee finished with a one-under 70 to share second with Soderberg, with seven players – including overnight leader Laurie Canter after an ugly five-over 76 – finishing in a tie for fourth at two-under.
- Full scoring HERE