Aaron Rai claims maiden European Tour title at Hong Kong Open
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 25/11/18 10:06am
Aaron Rai secured his maiden European Tour title with a one-shot victory at the Honma Hong Kong Open.
The Englishman saw his six-shot overnight lead cut to one during an eventful final day in Fanling, where a one-under 69 was enough to hold off nearest challenger Matt Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick posted a final-round 64 to finish on 16 under and five shots clear of Jason Scrivener and Victor Perez in tied-third at Hong Kong Golf Club, with Scotland's David Drysdale a further stroke back in fifth.
Back-to-back birdies over the first two holes were followed by a 20-foot gain at the eighth to see Fitzpatrick turn in 31, as Rai tapped in at the third and birdied his next hole but dropped shots at the sixth and eighth.
Fitzpatrick rolled in from eight feet at the tenth to close the gap to two shots, only for Rai to make a 15-footer at the 12th and match his playing partner's birdie at the par-five next.
Birdies at the 14th and 16th lifted Fitzpatrick within one, only for him to bogey the next and allow Rai to see out victory with a three-putt bogey at the par-four last.
Sergio Garcia shared sixth spot with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Shubhankar Sharma, while Tommy Fleetwood slipped into tied-14th after a final-round 73.