Harrington best of the Irish as Fitzpatrick closes in on history at Crans Montana

Rian Noctor

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Matt Fitzpatrick shot a resilient three-under-par round of 67 to stay on track for a hat-trick of Omega European Masters titles and a guaranteed Ryder Cup place.

The 2022 U.S. Open winner, who turned 29 on Friday, combined seven birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey on the 13th to move to 15-under.

Fitzpatrick started with a bogey but four birdies in quick succession left him three-under-par through seven holes. 


The Englishman’s round threatened to derail after a bogey on nine and a double bogey on the par-3 13th in Crans Montana. Fitzpatrick played a brilliant last six holes with three birdies to take control again and he told the media he was delighted with the fight he showed.

“Just really pleased to get back into it and make sure I’m in the mix come Sunday. It could have easily unravelled, if you make two pars on the easy par fives, all of a sudden, you are quite a few behind. It’s important to get a lead going into tomorrow, and looking forward to playing again with it,” he said

Fitzpatrick, who became the first player since Seve Ballesteros to defend a title at Crans-sur-Sierre with his victories in 2017 and 2018, is two clear of Swedes Ludvig Aberg and Alexander Björk and Scotland’s Connor Syme. Alex Fitzpatrick and Nicolai Højgaard are tied for fifth one shot further back on 12-under.

As well as a third title in the Swiss mountains, which would see Fitzpatrick draw level with Ballesteros for most wins in the event, he will also seal an automatic Ryder Cup berth via the World Points list by finishing in at least a tie for seventh with one other player.

“I feel like there are a lot of things for me this week, I can wrap up the Ryder Cup spot and I can match Seve’s record by winning here three times. A win around here is always special, so if it could be my third it would be even better. Looking forward to tomorrow, and ready to go”.

It was a mixed day for the Irish in Switzerland with Padraig Harrington still the best of the lot after a second consecutive two-under 68 to leave him at -7 in a tie for 30th place.

Tom McKibbin shot a disappointing three-over 73 to leave him well out of contention on two-under-par. It was an equally disappointing four-over 74 for John Murphy to leave him on level-par for the tournament.

Matt Fitzpatrick gets his final round underway at 13.25pm local time, 12.25pm Irish time alongside Conor Syme. Padraig Harrington gets his round underway at 9.50am Irish time alongside Jamie Donaldson


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