CADIZ, SPAIN - OCTOBER 17: Matthew Fitzpatrick of England poses with the trophy after winning The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters at Real Club Valderrama on October 17, 2021 in Cadiz, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Fitzpatrick proves the master at Valderrama
Matt Fitzpatrick won the Andalucía Masters after overturning a three-stroke deficit in the final round at Valderrama in Spain.
The two-time Ryder Cup player started the day chasing fellow Englishman Laurie Canter and parred the first 15 holes as his competitors made ground.
A three-over-par back nine put a halt to Canter’s title tilt as Sweden’s Sebastian Söderberg 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 DP World Tour Championship.
Fitzpatrick birdied 16 and 17 to move to six under and tapped in for par on 18 as he signed for a bogey-free 69 and a three-stroke victory over Söderberg and Australia’s Min Woo Lee. Canter finished in a share of fourth alongside six others on two under, with just 14 players finishing under par in Sotogrande.
Speaking after bagging his seventh European Tour title, Fitzpatrick said: “Winning around Valderrama is something I’ve always wanted tick off my bucket list. To do it in the way that I did, with no bogeys in the final round, was extra special.
“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. 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.”
He added: “I’ve been doing a lot of work on my irons with my coach, Mike Walker. Maybe I don’t give him enough credit, but he’s the best in the business in my opinion. He spends hours and hours looking at my swing, trying to get things right, finding little things we can improve on and it showed this week. I gave myself chances, kept hitting it the fat side of the green. That’s all I could keep doing. Took the pressure off. Didn’t try and chase anything and that was a big factor, that my irons have improved and I’ve got that confidence.”