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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Mighty Matt Fitzpatrick odds-on for successful European Masters defence

Doug Ghim could chase home Sheffield man

Matthew Fitzpatrick hits a drive at Crans-sur-Sierre
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 11.30am Sunday

Story so far
Seve Ballesteros was the last man to defend a European Tour title at Crans-Sur-Sierre when he won the Swiss Open for the second time in 1978 but Matthew Fitzpatrick has a chance to emulate the Spanish legend with a victory at the European Masters.

The Sheffield man missed out on a Ryder Cup wildcard earlier in the week but that has spurred him on in the Alps. He opened with a mediocre 69 on Thursday but has been electric since, carding 64 on Friday and 63 on Saturday.

Ante-post favourite Fitzpatrick heads into the final day at Crans with a two-shot lead over Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera while there are a clutch of players four adrift of the 24-year-old.

-14 Matthew Fitzpatrick
-12 Mike Lorenzo-Vera
-10 Lucas Bjerregaard, Haydn Porteous, Doug Ghim, Daniel Brooks, Ashun Wu
-9 Thomas Aiken, Gavin Green
-8 Nacho Elvira, Hideto Tanihara, Nino Bertasio
-7 Lee Westwood

Best prices
8-13 M Fitzpatrick, 12 L Bjerregaard, 22 H Porteous, 33 D Ghim, 40 A Wu, G Green, 50 D Brooks, T Aiken 66 bar.

Final-day advice
Fitzpatrick has not won since tasting a fourth European Tour success in this event last year but it will be a surprise if he fails to justify odds-on quotes heading into the final round.

Crans-sur-Sierre typically rewards accurate hitting and few can find the fairways like the young Sheffield star, who is determined both to retain his title and prove a point to European captain Thomas Bjorn with a dominant display at the Swiss track.

The course is made for the laser-straight 23-year-old, who stormed into the lead on Saturday with three birdies and an eagle from his opening seven holes.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera is his nearest challenger but the Frenchman is yet to win a European Tour title at 33 years of age and he could be more nervous than his younger playing partner.

Those who are four shots back will have to play well to catch Fitzpatrick, but they could all end up playing for places behind the Sheffielder.

American Doug Ghim has the potential to at least challenge Lorenzo-Vera for second and is worth a small each-way interest at 25-1 with bet365, who are offering three places at a fifth of the odds.

Ghim made the cut as an amateur at the Masters in April - accuracy has always been key at Augusta - before turning professional prior to the Travelers Championship.

He missed the cut at River Highlands but finished 20th at the Wyndham Championship and has been in fine form this week, registering just three bogeys through 54 holes.

Ghim could grab place money and even trouble Fitzpatrick if the leader stutters.

D Ghim to win European Masters
1pt each-way 25-1 bet365

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American Doug Ghim has the potential to at least challenge Lorenzo-Vera for second and is worth a small each-way interest
E.W. Terms
Sky bet