Renato Paratore Masters Close House
Renato Paratore won the British Masters at Close House, beating teenage sensation Rasmus Hojgaard by three strokes. The Italian shot a final round of 69 to finish the week on 18 under par.
South Africa's Justin Harding was third, with English trio Andy Sullivan (67), Robert Rock (69) and Dale Whitnell (71) sharing fourth place on 13 under.
Tournament host Lee Westwood had a day to forget, finishing the week with a 79 that included an eight at the ninth hole. The 47-year-old later announced that despite the excellent work involved in getting the event on amid the coronavirus event crisis, he felt "out of my comfort zone” and had decided he would not be playing in the US PGA Championship next month.
Westwood said: "I'm still more concerned that America doesn't take it as seriously as the rest of the world. It still seems to be one of the hotspots for outbreaks. I can control me not getting the virus and take all the measures I can, but somebody might pass it on. I don't really want to get ill with it and I'm slightly asthmatic.
"There are too many what ifs. If you take all them into consideration, there is something wrong."
The players, caddies, officials and media have all been in a bio-bubble this week, staying at the on-site hotel, while fans were not allowed in to watch.
Paratore had a fabulous week and played 63 holes without dropping a shot. He had been trying to become the first player to win a European Tour event without making a bogey since Jesper Parnevik at the 1995 Scandinavian Masters.
But his first dropped shot of the tournament came at the par-three ninth in the final round, and he dropped another shot at the 11th.
However, birdies at the fourth, seventh, 10th and 17th holes saw him run out a comfortable winner.
He was briefly challenged by Harding and Hojgaard, but bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes respectively all-but ended their hopes.
"I am really happy," said Paratore. "It was a little bit strange but fortunately there was some crowd at the end. I did not expect that from my friends on the Tour and it was a really good situation.
"I plan to play the next five events and I said to my team the goal was definitely to get one of the 10 places in the US Open that are available (from a mini order of merit)."
The British Masters was the first of six European Tour events that will be staged in a 'UK swing' this summer, with the next tournament being held at the Forest of Arden.
Meanwhile on the PGA Tour, Michael Thompson won the 3M Open, six years after his last triumph at the 2013 Honda Classic.
The 35 year old holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the final green to secure a two-stroke victory. He now has job security through the 2022-23 season and has leapt from 151st to 39th place in the FedEx Cup standings.
He has also qualified for this week’s WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the US Open.
A brilliant shot to three feet from the left greenside bunker at the driveable 16th hole gave Thompson the lead he would not relinquish on Sunday afternoon. And then he played the par-five 18th – where everyone’s last gasp at eagle kept coming up short – conservatively but birdied the hole.
“You can only dream of making a putt on the last hole to win a tournament,” said Thompson. “Definitely nice to know that I had a one-shot cushion, so I only had to two-putt, but had such a good read, it was an uphill right-to-left, exactly what any right-handed golfer wants.
“And I've been putting good all day today, so I just said -- I said to myself before I hit it, ‘Best putt of the day here, best putt of the day,’ and sure enough I hit it absolutely perfect and it went right in the middle.
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