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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Fitzpatrick set to reel in hothead Hend

Class of Englishman to shine through

Scott Hend looks a vulnerable frontrunner
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Story so far

Ante-post 80-1 chance Scott Hend leads the European Masters with a round to go, the Australian reaching 12 under par through 54 holes at Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland.

Hend is three shots clear of Fabrizio Zanotti, who is alone in second place. Matthew Fitzpatrick headlines the pack in the logjam for third, a further shot off the pace.

Ante-post 10-1 favourite Alexander Noren needs final-round fireworks to threaten from seven shots off the pace, while Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood missed the cut by two shots.

The final round was scheduled to start at 8.55am, with the leaders due on the tee at 10.55am. They are playing in threeballs from both the first and tenth tees, tournament organisers playing catch-up after bad weather brought a long third-round suspension on Saturday.

Leaderboard

-12 Scott Hend
-9 Fabrizio Zanotti
-8 Matthew Fitzpatrick, Darren Fichardt, Dean Burmester, Alexander Bjork, Lucas Bjerregaard, Marcus Fraser
-7 Todd Sinnott, Stephen Gallacher, Richard Sterne, Duncan Stewart, Tyrrell Hatton

Best prices

11-8 S Hend, 7 M Fitzpatrick, 10 F Zanotti, 18 D Burmester, A Bjork, 20 T Hatton, 33 D Fichardt, R Sterne, 50 bar

Final-round advice

The halfway racingpost.com advice was a hearty each-way investment on Matthew Fitzpatrick at 15-2, and he has shortened only slightly after a level-par 70 in tough third-round conditions.

Fitzpatrick closed the gap on Scott Hend from five shots to four, moving up from sixth spot to a share of third. The Englishman will still have high hopes of Crans-sur-Sierre glory.

Hend made five bogeys in round three and he makes no appeal at just 11-8 to successfully finish the job. He is essentially going it alone this week, with his wife acting as caddie, and the temperamental Australian could easily lose his rag if things do not go his way early in the final round.

Hend lost a playoff for the Crans title last year, which will only add to his desperation for the trophy this time. Often erratic from the tee and with anger issues, Hend is far from certain to justify his short price.

The accurate Fabrizio Zanotti should stay on the leaderboard, plodding into a place, while Alexander Bjork (18-1) and Tyrrell Hatton (20-1) are tempting prices on a course which suits. Three-time European Tour champion Fitzpatrick is the man to trust, though, as he bids to go one better than his Crans runner-up spot of 2015.

The sweet-swinging youngster appears to have rediscovered something close to his A-game and can be expected to exert early pressure on Hend.

Fitzpatrick is scheduled to tee off at 10.35am. A cloudy day, with possible thunderstorm suspensions, is forecast.

Already advised
M Fitzpatrick
3pts each-way 15-2 Betfair, Power

The sweet-swinging youngster appears to have rediscovered something close to his A-game
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