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Rare Air

by Mike Cullity

There are few more scenic places in golf than Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in the heart of the Swiss Alps, and against this breathtaking backdrop Matthew Fitzpatrick wrote another chapter in his promising ascent.

Fitzpatrick won the Omega European Masters on Sunday after shooting a final-round 64 and outlasting Australian Scott Hend in a playoff. It was the fourth European Tour victory for the 23-year-old Englishman who first burst onto the scene in 2013 by winning the Silver Medal as leading amateur at the Open Championship and then capturing the US Amateur.

Since dropping out of Northwestern University in early 2014 to pursue a golf career, Fitzpatrick has made steady progress, posting his maiden European Tour victory at the 2015 British Masters before winning twice last year. Though hardly an imposing figure at 5 feet 9 and 11 stone, Fitzpatrick is proving himself to be one of Europe’s most formidable competitors.

Great Britain & Ireland’s top amateurs did not fare nearly so well as Fitzpatrick during the weekend, surrendering the Walker Cup to the United States, 19-7, at Los Angeles Country Club. The Americans broke a Saturday foursomes deadlock with a bravura performance in the afternoon singles that gave them a four-point lead. And they all but won the cup before lunch on Sunday by winning three of four foursomes matches.

While her compatriots were lapping their opponents in California, Lexi Thompson won an LPGA tournament staged on a course with four holes on the infield of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With a closing 68 on Saturday, the 22-year-old Floridian zoomed past Lydia Ko, the former world No 1, who despite stalling in the last round appears close to recapturing her form.


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