Wiesberger earns third title of the year at Italian Open


Bernd Wiesberger edged out Matt Fitzpatrick by a single shot to claim his third victory of the year at the Italian Open

Bernd Wiesberger claimed his third European Tour title of the year at the Italian Open on Sunday after a bogey free 65 gave him a one stroke victory over overnight leader Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The Austrian, who missed several months of the 2018 season with a wrist injury, started the day three strokes back but took advantage of a Fitzpatrick mistake on his way to a winning score of 16-under-par.

It was Wiesberger’s third win of the season, and he now returns to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex and after joining Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Justin Rose and Danny Willett as a multiple Rolex Series champions (he also won the Scottish Open earlier in the year).

The 34-year-old also moves to a career high 22nd in the Official World Golf Ranking and boosts his chances of making a Ryder Cup debut in 2020.

“It’s been a great summer for me,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of good golf shown and a lot of progress after coming back from the last year.

“I’ve won three times this year and it’s been the same every time, I’ve just really enjoyed my time and I’m positive to be back out there because I know how tough it was when I had to withdraw from these great events.

“I’ve played really well in the right events in Ireland and the Scottish and here this week which helps getting up there in the Race to Dubai. I feel excited about what is ahead of us in these last four events.”

For Fitzpatrick, a fourth second place finish in 2019 moves him to fourth in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex as he seeks to claim a sixth European Tour title and extend his run of winning seasons to five.

Fitzpatrick recovered from a poor tee shot on the first to make a par but replied with a stunner to seven feet on the par three second for a first birdie of the day and a two shot lead.

He then made six pars in a row and that opened the door for Wiesberger to surge up the leaderboard, starting with a long putt on the fifth.

An approach to five feet at the sixth and a 20 foot right to lefter on the next made it a hat-trick of gains, and he took advantage of the par five ninth to share the lead.

Fitzpatrick went the other way at the turn, sending his tee shot out of bounds to surrender a double bogey and Wiesberger led by two.

Smart par saves on the 11th and 12th maintained that cushion and a tee shot to 15 feet moved him three ahead at the 14th.

An excellent approach to eight feet saw Fitzpatrick hit back at the 13th but Wiesberger put his tee shot inside six feet on the 16th to edge back three ahead.

Fitzpatrick took advantage of the par five 15th to trim the lead once more and a two putt birdie on the 17th had him within one but he could not make a gain on the last to take it to a play-off.

Kitayama – already a two time winner in his rookie season – made two birdies and two bogeys as he looks to close the gap on MacIntyre in the race to be the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.

He moves to 15th in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex but MacIntyre is up to seventh after also carding a 71 with three birdies and three bogeys.

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