Tyrrell Hatton sealed his second European Tour victory in seven days with a brilliant birdie at the last to win the Italian Open at Golf Club Milano.
Last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner carded six birdies – including five on the back nine – in a bogey-free 65 in the final round to win his first Rolex Series event and now moves to fifth position in the Race to Dubai ranking.
It had looked like the tournament would be decided by a play-off, with clubhouse leaders Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat alongside Hatton on 20 under par as he stood at the 18th tee, but the 26 year old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, calmly rolled in his birdie putt from 15 feet to get to 21 under and clinch the trophy.
“It's an amazing feeling to win back-to-back,” Hatton said. “You know, slightly different circumstances today where I had to come from behind. I'm not sure how far back I was going into the back nine but I knew I needed plenty of birdies and was very fortunate that I holed a few putts coming in.
“I knew I needed a low score today, and the front nine, it was pretty slow and sort of didn't really get any momentum. I was fighting myself, trying to stay patient, and you know, J.B (Jonathan Bell), my caddie, was saying, ‘Good things will come.’ Although I found it hard to believe, I tried to stay patient and in the end, I guess I got my reward.
“Amazing to win one, but to win back-to-back, and defend in two weeks is unbelievable. It gives me a lot of confidence.
“Obviously winning last week, my game felt really good, and just taking that into this week and playing well again and giving myself another chance was great.
“To win a Rolex Series event is very special. They are new for this season and all the players are looking forward to playing in them. I'm just happy that I could win one of them after a poor showing in them during the summer.
“These are massive events for the European Tour. They get such a good field and are so well supported with the crowd. The crowds were amazing. It's very special to win one of the big events on the European Tour.”
Fisher, who was also pipped at the post by Hatton in Scotland last week, and Aphibarnrat had to settle for a share of second place, while England’s Matt Wallace finished in fourth on 19 under courtesy of a brilliant chip-in birdie at the 17th with Victorian Marcus Fraser a further shot off the pace.
“It was good fun,” Fisher said. “Great fun playing with Marcus Fraser. We both knew we had to get off to a quick start and we both did that birdieing the first few holes. Just trying to push each other along and feed off each other.
"Made some birdies early on and gave myself plenty of chances coming home. Just unfortunately didn't manage to hole any. Great to finish minus 20 and it’s great to be playing two weeks back-to-back and in contention and playing some of the best golf of my life.”
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood extended his lead at the top of the ranking with a final round 67 to finish on 17 under alongside home favourite Francesco Molinari, South Africa’s George Coetzee and England’s David Horsey.
Fleetwood’s closest rivals to be crowned Europe’s No.1 player for 2017 – World No.5 Jon Rahm and Masters Champion Sergio Garcia – finished tied 15th and tied 30th respectively.