Renato Paratore wins British Masters

For 62 holes, Renato Paratore made golf look easy. Not a single blemish on his card, just pars and birdies. It looked like it wouldn’t even be a close contest at the Betfred British Masters at Close House Golf Club in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.

But when he finally showed he’s human with a bogey at the par-3 ninth in Saturday’s final round and another dropped shot at the 11th, Paratore refused to crack.

The 23-year-old Italian pumped his fist after making his fourth birdie of the day at 17 and shot 2-under 69 to claim his second European Tour title by three strokes over 19-year-old Dane Rasmus Hojgaard, who had beaten Paratore in a playoff at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open earlier this season.

Hojgaard and South African Justin Harding climbed within two shots of the lead with five holes to play, but Harding and Hojgaard made bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes respectively to short-circuit their challenge. Paratore finished with a 72-hole total of 18-under 266.

“I’m really, really happy. Today was not easy,” Paratore said. “I played really solid. I didn’t expect to come back and win my second one after lockdown but I worked really hard the last year.”

Harding finished third, one stroke ahead of the English trio of Andy Sullivan (67), Robert Rock (69) and Dale Whitnell (71), who shared fourth on 13 under.

The win was Paratore’s first since 2017 and lifted him to No. 6 in the season-long Race to Dubai. He was able to celebrate at the back of the 18th green with his mom via video and his fellow players provided a guard of honor with their clubs as he walked off to sign his card.

The British Masters was the first of six European Tour events that will be staged in the UK this summer, with next week’s being held at the Forest of Arden.

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