Scandinavian Invitation: Erik van Rooyen beats Matthew Fitzpatrick by one shot

Erik van Rooyen with his first piece of European Tour silverware
Erik van Rooyen with his first piece of European Tour silverware

Erik van Rooyen broke through at European Tour level with a one-shot victory over Matt Fitzpatrick in the Scandinavian Invitation.


Leaderboard

-19 van Rooyen

-18 Fitzpatrick

-14 Stenson, Burmester

-13 Soderberg, Kim, Levy, Donaldson, Ormsby


Day four report

Erik van Rooyen broke through at European Tour level with a one-shot victory over Matt Fitzpatrick in the Scandinavian Invitation.

Widely considered one of the best players on the circuit yet to win, the South African graduated out of that unwelcome category with a birdie at the final hole to edge Fitzpatrick by the minimum margin.

Van Rooyen had looked set for an easier coronation after moving three clear deep into the back-nine, but Fitzpatrick is not one to give in and followed a bogey at the 16th with birdies at the final two holes.

With van Rooyen making his first mistake of the day at the 17th, just as Fitzpatrick picked up another shot at the final hole, he was left requiring a four at the closing par-five to get off the mark.

The 29-year-old rose to the challenge to complete a brace of weekend 64s, denying Fitzpatrick a sixth European Tour win at the tender age of 24.

Van Rooyen told Sky Sports: "It's too good, it's hard to describe. I was so nervous on 18.

"On 17 I was fine I just didn't hit that (par) putt hard enough and then I asked (his caddie) Alex 'what are we at' and he told me Matt went birdie-birdie.

"I've been putting so well all day and to hole that one to win, it's my first one, it's pretty cool."

Henrik Stenson made a hole-in-one at the sixth hole as he launched an early challenge which petered out as he settled for third place alongside Dean Burmester, who birdied the final two holes.

Former Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson shared fourth place with Sebastian Soderberg, Sihwan Kim, Alex Levy and Wade Ormsby, with Sam Horsfield's closing 62 enough for a share of 10th.

Day three report

Matthew Fitzpatrick made an eagle on his final hole to sit just one shot back heading into the final round of the Scandinavian Invitation.

The Englishman started round three in Gothenburg with a two-shot lead and looked in control before he dropped three shots in as many holes from the 14th to slip back.

He was leapfrogged by Erik van Rooyen - who birdied five of his last six holes in a 64 that left him 13 under - and trailed by three as he stood on the 18th tee.

But the 2016 Ryder Cup star holed a long putt from off the green at the closing par five to get back within one of the South African leader, alongside Australian Wade Ormsby and China's Wu Ashun.

"When I hit it (THE putt on 18), I thought it was a good pace to have a chance distance wise and it got about three quarters of the way and was actually on line and I thought, 'This has got a really good chance'," he told europeantour.com. "Fortunately, I nailed it right in the middle.

"I always want to win. If I win now or later this year it will be winning five years in a row, so that is a goal for me to keep that up, but I will be going out there tomorrow trying to win."

Major champion Henrik Stenson, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Ireland's Gavin Moynihan were in a group at 10 under, a shot clear of England's Matthew Southgate.


Day two report

Henrik Stenson stormed through the field with a Friday 62 at the Scandinavian Invitation, setting up a Saturday showdown with leader Matt Fitzpatrick.

The Swede chose to play on home soil rather than chase down riches courtesy of the FedEx Cup, and that decision was rewarded with a best-of-the-day round which saw him move into second place.

Stenson trails Fitzpatrick by two shots, with Ashun Wu's late flurry of birdies earning him a place alongside Stenson on the leaderboard.

Joakim Lagergren adds further Swedish interest in fourth place alongside Jason Scrivener, the pair three off the lead, with Erik van Rooyen among those a shot further back.

Van Rooyen in particular will still harbour ambitions of chasing down a first European Tour title, but to do so he'll have to catch a leader who, at just 24 years of age, is going in search of his sixth.

It's a good time of year for Fitzpatrick, who won this event in 2016 and will next week bid for a hat-trick in the European Masters, and it's a case of so far, so good on his return from the PGA Tour.

The Englishman started slowly in round two, making his first bogey of the tournament at the very first hole and going out in level, but five birdies from the turn saw him move into a clear lead for the first time.

Stenson is hot on his coat-tails after six birdies in succession from the eighth ignited a challenge which had threatened to falter when he too dropped a shot at the opening hole to fall dangerously close to the cut line.

From there, the 2016 Open champion was virtually flawless, a closing birdie ensuring that he'll go toe-to-toe with Fitzpatrick in the final group on Saturday.

Come the end of the round, it will be a surprise if one of the two isn't leading with the other their chief threat.


Day one report

Wade Ormsby shot out in front after the first round of the Scandinavian Invitation after carding a bogey-free 62 at the Hills Golf & Sports Club.

Ormsby, who started from the 10th, had the chance to post the second sub-60 round in European Tour history when he raced to the turn in 28 on the par-70 layout, aided by holing his four-iron approach to the 14th for an eagle two.

However, the 39-year-old Australian could only pick up two birdies on the inward nine to finish eight under par, a shot ahead of home favourite Joakim Lagergren and France's Alexander Levy.

"I made a pretty straightforward birdie on the 12th and then at the 14th I was in between a five and a four iron, picked the right one and boxed it, so then I just got a bit of momentum through the final holes," Ormsby said.

"I felt like I had been hitting the ball quite well, I just wasn't quite free enough in my putting, so I was working hard on that to get back to a point where I feel more comfortable and less into my technique."

Levy had missed the cut in eight of his last 10 starts as he works on swing changes with coach Sean Foley, but feels he is on the right track after a 63 which featured eight birdies and a solitary bogey.

"When you look at the video of my swing it's totally different so it's nice," Levy said. "I feel I have really good control on the flight and spin of the ball which was what I really wanted."

World number 30 Matt Fitzpatrick, the highest-ranked player in the field, is two shots off the lead after a bogey-free 64.

England's James Morrison has revealed he considered quitting the game after struggling to handle the grind of tournament golf, as he started brightly with a 66.

Morrison won the Madeira Islands Open in 2010 and the Spanish Open in 2015, reaching a career-high of 80th in the world rankings later that year, but the 34-year-old has failed to record a top-10 finish in the last two seasons and has also had off-field issues to deal with, meaning he started this week a lowly 942nd in the rankings.

"It's my 10th year out here in a row now and this has been not about golf, it's about everything else," Morrison told Sky Sports.

"Tour life's getting a chore, travelling's getting hard. I've got a little boy (Finley) at home, my wife's having some health problems and had surgery two days ago so there's stuff at home going on that's taken my attention away from the game.

"I really questioned whether that was it. Scotland (July's Scottish Open) was close to being my last ever event but that's just the way it goes, that's life and you've got to deal with it.

"I changed coaches in the search for better golf and it hasn't worked out the last two years.

"I've gone back to my old coach Hugh Marr and done some really good work with Justin Buckthorp, my trainer-come-psychologist, best friend, mentor, and stripped everything back and realised why I'm doing it, what I'm doing it for and I'm in a happier place personally.

"He's kind of brought me back from the brink of hanging up the boots so I'm not sure if I'll thank him for that or not!"

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