Hend Laments Letting Slip Swiss Victory Visiting Same 18th Hole Bunker Four Of Five Times Last Day.

Scott Hend was left lamenting letting slip victory for a second year in succession at the European Masters in Switzerland.

Hend, who had led unchallenged for three days, was bumped off the Swiss summit by Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick who won with a par the third extra hole on the Crans-sur-Sierre course.

The Queenslander, and like he had done 12 months ago, went into the final day leading by a stroke only to again see his rival fitted with the traditional red winner’s jacket and handed the gleaming silver trophy.

Hend and his caddying wife, Leanne travelled back down the mountain and making their way to Geneva Airport rueing a number of opportunities but none more so than his just over one metre birdie attempt at the second extra hole that failed to even hit the hole.

Matthew Fitzpatrick captures 2017 European Masters (Photo – European Tour/Gettys)

Earlier, Hend had returned to the course at 8am local time to complete his closing five holes of his third round and he did so brilliantly driving the green at the par five 14th, and having walked from the course in near darkness on Saturday after a much-needed birdie at the par three, 13th.

The World No.98 then gave back a shot at the 15th before ending with three pars and a round of 71 to lead by one.

Fitzgerald had shot a 70 to be four back of Hend.

Hend got his fourth round off to an indifferent start with back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth holes while Fitzpatrick loomed large in the Aussie’s rear-view mirror with three birdies in succession from the sixth and then a fourth of his day at the 10th.

Hend finally found forward gear with birdies at five, seventh and ninth holes.  He got a fortunate break at the fifth after sending his tee-shot left into the trees but with his ball landing nicely from where Hend hit a brilliant hooked second to set up a ten-foot birdie.

Scott Hend and his wife at 2017 European Masters. (Photo – European Tour/Gettys)

However, Fitzpatrick momentarily went two shots clear thanks for a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th before Hend answered with a 15th hole birdie and then found himself level with Fitzpatrick, and some 21-years his junior, when the Brit bogeyed the 71st hole.

Both players just missed birdie putts to end regulation play and with Hend carding a three-under 68 and Fitzpatrick, who had been in the penultimate group, producing an equal-best on the last day of a 64 and with the duo tied at 14-under.

Then for a third straight occasion, and after doing the same earlier that day to end his third round and also end his fourth round, Hend horribly found the fairway bunker to the right of the 18th fairway on route to each parring the first extra hole.

But when Hend found the 18th fairway at the second extra hole he hit a brilliant second shot to just under two-metres after Fitzapatrick was left and short.

Scott Hend hits out of a bunker on route to letting slip victory in Switzerland. (Photo – European Tour/Gettys).

The 23-year old Englishman then showed his disgust and slapping his right leg in missing his birdie putt but only for Hend to horribly let him off the hook in missing his birdie putt.

But Hend committed another unforced error finding the same 18th fairway bunker, and now for a fourth occasion in five times on Sunday, and now leaving him no shot due to his lie but to fly the green and send his ball up against the grandstand where he was afforded a ‘free drop’.

Fitzgerald’s second shot from the fairway was way left of the flag but then he putted to close tap-in distance and moments after Hend’s chip chop rolled well past the flag and stopping just inches short of finding the greenside water hazard.

An indifferent putt left Hend still behind Fitzgerald’s par attempt from where he bogeyed and leaving Fitzgerald to claim a fourth European Tour title.

Scott Hend lets slip victoy in 2017 European Masters. (Photo – European Tour/Gettys)

“I had the opportunity and I didn’t take it,” said Hend.

“It’s just what happens when you don’t take your opportunities. I hit a good bunker shot on the 18th in regulation play to get into the play-off. I hit that shot when I came back to finish my third round this morning.

“It was just insane out of the bunker. I would love to putt the same way I did in the play-off but it didn’t happen.

“I came back this morning to play the 14th hole of my third round and I made a nice eagle there. It was a good start to the day. I didn’t play as nicely in the afternoon but it is what it is. Fitzpatrick played great to win. He’s a good champion.”

Fitzpatrick had finished in the top ten at this event the last two years and this was the second time he had been involved in a final-day shoot-out after losing to countryman Danny Willett by a single shot in 2015.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win. I love playing this golf course, from the first ever year I came as an invite in 2014 it’s one that has really stood out on my schedule and I always want to come back and play.

“I was saying to (caddie) Jamie, ‘I think 17 might have cost us today’ but it’s just one of those things. It’s never nice to see but we kept our nerve and just played really smart all week.

“I remember being here in 2015 when Dan won and his parents were there to see him win so it’s nice to have mine here too. It’s the third win they’ve seen me achieve so it’s pretty special.”

Hend’s reward was a Euro 300,000 prize cheque that has lifted him to 31st on the Race of Dubai and the assurance of contesting the season-ending DP World Tour Championship for a second year running.

Also Hend’s effort should see him jump to around 80th on the World Rankings.





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