CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland – England’s Matt Fitzpatrick opened up a two-stroke lead in the third round of the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland on Saturday to close in on securing a place at this month’s Ryder Cup.
Former US Open champions Fitzpatrick, who began the day one-shot ahead, carded a seven-birdie 67 to move to 15 under for the tournament he has won twice before.
Swedes Ludvig Aberg and Alexander Bjork and Scotland’s Connor Syme are on 13 under although none of that trio are in contention for a place on the Ryder cup team.
Fitzpatrick is not only hoping to secure an automatic place in Luke Donald’s Europe team, he could also match the late Seve Ballesteros by winning the tournament in the Swiss Alps for a third time having triumphed in 2017 and 2018.
“I feel like there’s a lot of things for me this week,” Fitzpatrick said. “I can wrap up Ryder Cup, I can match Seve’s record and win here three times. A win here is always special and my third would be even better.”
Fitzpatrick knew coming into the event that a top-six finish would earn a Ryder cup spot via the world points list and one more solid round on Sunday should seal the deal.
Of the players still vying for spot via the European points list, Germany’s Yannick Paul is on nine under going into the weekend although he will likely need to win the title to jump ahead of Scotland’s Robert Macintyre who is on three under.
Adrian Meronk, another player who still has a chance to force his way in, is nine under after three rounds.
Rory McIlroy and John Rahm have already secured their spots on Team Europe via the European points list with Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton assured places via the world points list.
Two more automatic spots are up for grabs, one from each points list, with captain Luke Donald then having six picks to make up his dozen for the match against the United States in Rome this month. Donald will announce his picks on Monday. REUTERS
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