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European Masters: Scott Hend leads Matt Fitzpatrick as round three suspended

European Masters: Scott Hend leads Matt Fitzpatrick as round three suspended”

Hend seized a one-shot lead over South African Darren Fichardt, who carded a matching 63 in the second round, with a two-day total of 13-under-par 127. It's never nice to see, but we kept our nerve and just played really smart all week.

Hend birdied the par-3 13th hole minutes before fading light forced the players off a second time.

Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay and Asian Tour rookie Todd Sinnott of Australia stayed four shots off the pace in third place following respective rounds of 66, 65 and 66.

Hend acknowledged that "I had the opportunity and I didn't take it. Fitzpatrick played great to win".

A playoff was needed because Fitzpatrick and third-round leader Hend (68) both missed mid-range birdie chances on the 18th in regulation.

Fitzpatrick, a Ryder Cup debutant a year ago, acknowledged thinking that Hend would seize that chance after his own four metre birdie putt slid by the hole. "He's a good champion".

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A clumsy bunker shot on the fourth then saw Hend drop a first shot of the day and when Zanotti drove the green on the seventh to get down in two with Hend again finding bunker trouble on the eighth, the lead was shared.

Fitzpatrick recovered from bogeys at the first and third with three gains in four holes to make the turn in 34 and was flawless through the first six holes of his back nine.

The 44-year-old Hend struck a magnificent iron shot to six feet from the pin, only to pull his putt for a third European Tour victory past the lip.

The Englishman actually held a two-shot advantage at one stage, before Hend's birdie at 15th made it one and then Fitzpatrick bogeyed 17th.

Hend led by three shots going into the final round and had an eight-foot putt to win on the second play-off hole at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.



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