Wiesberger falls apart as Hojgaard wins European Masters

Bernd Wiesberger falls apart on the final hole of the European Masters with a double-bogey as he sees a Ryder Cup place slip from his grasp with Rasmus Hojgaard taking a one-shot victory at Crans

  • Bernd Wiesberger double-bogeyed the final hole of the Euroepan Masters 
  • The Austrian had a one shot lead but his error handed Rasmus Hojgaard victory
  • A victory at Crans would have given Wiesberger a place in the Ryder Cup team
  • But he has little time to recover with just two events before the selection

Bernd Wiesberger stood on the 18th tee in the European Masters with a Ryder Cup place in the palm of his hand.

The keen skier from Austria held a one-stroke lead in the Alpine setting of Crans, needing only a par to all but guarantee he’d sample the rarefied air of the biennial dust-up for the first time at Whistling Straits next month.

Who could have predicted it would all go downhill from there for the man with eight European Tour titles to his name, including some big ones like the Scottish Open?

Bernd Wiesberger damaged his chances of making the Ryder Cup after falling apart on the final hole of the European Masters

The Austrian went in with a one shot lead but then double-bogeyed the final hole 

All that proved no preparation for the 35-year-old, as he ran up a calamitous double bogey that changed the picture entirely.

Wiesberger’s problems on the tricky closing hole began with a drive that found a fairway bunker. Worse was to follow when he could only watch in horror as his recovery shot found the water protecting the green.

A nervous pitch following a penalty drop left him with little chance of the bogey he needed to catch 20-year-old Dane Rasmus Hojgaard, who had finished with five birdies from six holes but could hardly believe it had earned him the title.

Wiesberger’s collapse allowed Dane Rasmus Hojgaard to claim a one shot victory in Crans

Poor Wiesberger, who has little time to recover and go again, with just two events remaining before the team is settled. Second place in Crans means he’s still on the outside looking in regarding the automatic slots and, after that finish, there seems no chance he will get the one remaining wildcard that appears up for grabs, with the other two virtually assigned to Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia.

One man who might snatch it is Swede Henrik Stenson, 45, who followed his first top-five finish for two years last week with another. In his first appearance for a decade in Switzerland, he finished with an immaculate bogey-free 63 for third place.

Europe’s captain Padraig Harrington will have enjoyed watching Garcia in the thick of the action in the final round of the second of the three FedEx events in Maryland on Sunday.

The Spaniard put a lean summer behind him with a spectacular opening, playing his first four holes in four under to move to within one shot of the lead held by Bryson DeChambeau and fellow American Patrick Cantlay. A messy double bogey at the fifth, however, brought his thrilling momentum to a halt.

Swede Henrik Stenson may snatch the final wildcard spot for the Ryder Cup after another top five finish

What a contrast between the two leaders. One, DeChambeau, makes headlines wherever he goes, however he plays. The other, Cantlay, refuses to play the social media game, and is happy to let his clubs do the talking.

At the 357-yard opening hole, the drastically slimmed down DeChambeau sent the crowd into rapture by booming his drive into a greenside bunker and pitching out for a tap-in birdie. It was Cantlay, however, who made the better start, brushing in four birdies in his first five holes for a one-shot advantage.

Rory McIlroy began the final round four off the lead but it’s hard to make inroads when the pacemakers start so well. 

Sergio Garcia put a lean summer behind him with a spectacular opening, playing his first four holes in four under

Nevertheless, it was looking an encouraging week for the Northern Irishman heading into the FedEx finale beginning on Thursday at East Lake in Atlanta, which is one of his favourite courses.

Tiger Woods’ back-up putter from his sensational 2002 season has sold for £285,000 — reportedly making it the most expensive golf club ever. 

The putter was personally produced by Scotty Cameron for Woods, who practised and experimented with it but never used it in competition.

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