Renato Paratore wins Nordea Masters after late mistake from Chris Wood
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/06/17 7:43am
Renato Paratore displayed impressive composure under pressure as he held off Ryder Cup stars Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood to clinch his maiden European Tour title at the Nordea Masters.
Paratore held his nerve to scramble clutch pars over the closing three holes at Barseback and card a three-under 70, and he was crowned champion moments later when Wood hit a poor drive into the trees from the 18th tee and ran up a bogey to finish tied for second with Fitzpatrick.
The young Italian, who has gained popularity in Europe for being one of the fastest players on Tour, got off to a shaky start with a bogey at the third before he steadied himself with three good pars and then birdied eight and nine to reach the turn tied for the lead with Wood.
Paratore picked up another shot at the 12th and holed a superb putt from 25 feet for birdie at the 14th, and his putter kept him in the hunt as he did well to save par at both the 16th and 17th.
The 20-year-old looked to be up against it after an errant drive at the last, but he enjoyed a slice of good fortune as he was able to plot a route to the green with his second and he was able to get down in two to surpass defending champion Fiztpatrick as clubhouse leader.
Wood was two over for his round before he made three birdies in four holes around the turn, and he regained a share of the lead with another gain at the long 16th.
But the tall Bristolian did not enjoy the same luck as Paratore when he also missed the 18th fairway, and he was forced to take a penalty drop from an unplayable lie which ultimately cost him a place in a play-off and ensured Paratore would be the youngest winner on Tour since his GolfSixes partner Matteo Manassero claimed the BMW PGA Championship in 2013.
Fitzpatrick put up a gallant defence of his title as he rolled in his seventh birdie putt of the final day at the 18th to cap a five-under 66, but he would be left to rue a costly double-bogey six at the third after he closed on nine under.
George Coetzee put together the round of the day and was one of five players tied for the lead at one point as he blitzed the layout for no fewer than nine birdies.
The South African made three in a row from the fourth and added another at nine to turn in 33, and he continued his charge up the leaderboard when he picked up four shots in five holes from the 11th.
But Coetzee was unable to take advantage of the par-five 16th and parred in to return a 66 which earned him a tie for fourth on nine under with Thorbjorn Olesen, who mixed four birdies with two bogeys in a 71.
Halfway leader Jamie Donaldson joined the tie at the top when he reached three under for the day with a birdie at the 13th, but he dropped his first shot of the day at the next and also bogeyed the last to finish alone in seventh - four behind the champion.