Matt Fitzpatrick falls agonisingly short in Hong Kong

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick
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Matt Fitzpatrick says he gave it his best shot after falling agonisingly short of a remarkable victory at the Hong Kong Open.

Trailing leader Aaron Rai by six shots heading into the final round, Fitzpatrick finished just one behind fellow Englishman Rai after a stunning performance on Sunday.

The Sheffield golfer carded a brilliant 64 on a round that only faltered on the 17th when a bogey restored a two-shot advantage for Rai, who was afforded the luxury of a three-putt on the last to win his first European Tour title by a single stroke.

And Fitzpatrick could not help but rue the bogey which cost him the opportunity to force the tournament into a play-off.

“It was disappointing to bogey the 17th – such a simple bogey,” he said.

“I gave it a good go. It was always going to be tough to beat him.

“For the last two days he's just played very solid golf and not given anything away which makes my life more difficult.”

The 25-year-old was nevertheless pleased with his performance in Hong Kong, which secured a fifth top ten finish of 2018 and saw him kick off the European Tour’s 2019 season in style.

“I know it's the start of the season but I just wish it was January,” Fitzpatrick said.

“It’s the end of the year now so I’ll just have some time off and reevaluate where I’m at and take it from there.”

Rai said he tried his best not to concentrate on Fitzpatrick’s final round surge and play his own game.

He said: "Matt played incredibly all day.

“It was tough but again, I really just tried to play the course as much as possible rather than Matt or anyone else who was playing well today.

"I luckily managed to do that for most of the way around. It was tough considering the situation but I'm very pleased."

Rai led from day one through to the finish and broke the course record with a 61 on Friday, one shot better than Fitzpatrick on the day.