Bernd Wiesberger wins Italian Open by one shot over Matt Fitzpatrick
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 13/10/19 4:54pm
Bernd Wiesberger stormed to his third victory of the year as he pipped Matt Fitzpatrick to the Italian Open title with a superb final-round 65 at Olgiata.
Wiesberger, who missed the majority of last season due to a wrist injury, made six birdies and several clutch par saves as he posted a winning score of 16 under to finish one clear of Fitzpatrick, who left himself too much ground to make up after driving out-of-bounds at the ninth.
Fitzpatrick had slept on the overnight lead and made a confident start when he birdied the second, and he put together a solid run of pars just as Wiesberger began his march up the leaderboard with three consecutive birdies from the fifth before adding another at nine to turn in 31.
The Austrian suddenly found himself in the outright lead when Fitzpatrick made a huge error from the ninth tee, his blocked drive sailing way right and landing on a cart path which helped his ball cannon beyond the out-of-bounds markers.
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Fitzpatrick could make only a par with his second ball and signed for a double-bogey seven, while Wiesberger did well to save par twice up ahead as he holed priceless par putts from eight and 15 feet respectively on the 11th and 12th greens.
Wiesberger then extended his advantage to three when he birdied the short 14th and, although he missed out on another gain at the long 15th, he knocked a delightful mid-iron to six feet at 16 and converted the chance to get to 16 under.
Fitzpatrick revived his hopes of a first win in 11 months when he birdied the 13th and 15th with the tournament now down to a two-man showdown as the likes of Matt Wallace and Kurt Kitayama were unable to keep pace with the top two.
Wiesberger hit a tree with his tugged second to 17 and settled for par, and he then pulled his drive into the left rough at the last before gouging his approach through the green, from where he pitched to five feet and held his nerve to rattle in the putt to post the target in the clubhouse.
Fitzpatrick gave himself a great chance to force at least a play-off when he cracked a stunning second to 12 feet at the long, penultimate hole, but his eagle putt lipped out and left him needing a birdie at the last to extend the contest.
But, after splitting the fairway with his drive, his second dug into the putting surface and stopped 30 feet short of the flag, and his birdie putt drifted wide of the target and confirmed Wiesberger as the new leader in the Race to Dubai.
The win was also his second Rolex Series title of the season having also landed the Scottish Open in July, while Fitzpatrick was left to ponder what might have been after posting his fourth runner-up finish of 2019.
Kitayama birdied the 17th and parred the last to salvage a 71 which was good enough to secure outright third place on 12 under, one ahead of Matthias Schwab (66), fan-favourite Andrew "Beef" Johnston (68) and Scottish rookie Bob MacIntyre (71).
Wallace had looked a likely contender when he birdied seven and nine to get to 12 under, but the Englishman lost a ball at the 11th and the resulting double-bogey effectively ended his challenge as he stumbled to a back-nine 39 and slipped to nine under par.