Matthew Fitzpatrick
Matthew Fitzpatrick Image Credit: AP

With just one month to go until the season-ending DP World Tour Championship arrives in Dubai, defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick made a significant surge up the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings after winning his seventh European Tour title in style as he overturned a three-stroke deficit in the final round of the Andalucía Masters.

The Englishman, who also won the DP World Tour Championship in 2016, started the day chasing compatriot Laurie Canter and parred the first 15 holes as his competitors made ground at the legendary Real Club Valderrama.

A three-over par back nine put a halt to Canter’s title tilt as Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg held the lead as he stood on the 17th tee, but a double-bogey, bogey finish on the notoriously difficult closing holes gave Fitzpatrick a clear run for his first victory since last year’s win in Dubai.

Fitzpatrick birdied the 16th and 17th holes to move to six under and tapped in for par on the 18th as he signed for a bogey-free 69 and a three-stroke victory over Soderberg and Australia’s Min Woo Lee.

“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,” said the 27-year-old, who jumped up to fifth in the Race to Dubai.

“I said to Billy (Foster) after about 14 that every putt I had seemed to just be on a little bit of a strange slope or a strange look. I just didn’t really get any that fit my eye. Then we got to 16 and it was a perfect read, just dead straight. It doesn’t get easier than that. Then I saw what happened on the tee. I still felt nervous, despite knowing what was going on. But it gave me the freedom to commit to the shots and keep doing what I was doing.

“The big thing is, I’ve been here enough, Billy has been here more than enough. There isn’t a breather hole out here. 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 if possible, pars were never a bad thing, and that’s what I did.”