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Omega European Masters: Five Things to Know Presented by OCEANTEE

The DP World Tour visits Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club this week as Ryder Cup qualification ends for Team Europe. Here are your five things to know.

Lawrence defends

Thriston Lawrence returns to Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club this week to defend the Omega European Masters title he claimed last year in a play-off against Matt Wallace, which marked his second victory of the season and led to him being named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.

An important win for Lawrence, which he credited to his patience, not only helped him secure rookie of the year honours but also moved him into the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said at the time. “Growing up, you always want to be in the top 100 in the world and to achieve it is quite emotional. I’m just happy with my patience this week and I’m just so pleased to be able to win this week.”

The South African had begun the day with a three-shot lead but was caught at the summit by a charging Wallace after 16 holes on Sunday, and a play-off was required to decide the winner after both parred the final two holes. Wallace was unable to save par at the first extra hole, and a four was good enough to hand Lawrence victory on his maiden visit to Crans Montana, sparking jubilant scenes on the 18th green.

Lawrence, whose breakthrough victory came at the Joburg Open at the end of 2021, returns to Switzerland with two more titles to his name. He captured the Investec South African Open Championship in December last year and won the BMW International Open in June.

He will place his winner’s plaque on the Walk of Fame in the Rue du Prado, which runs alongside the entrance to the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, on Thursday morning

Final week of Ryder Cup Qualification

The battle for the final place on both the European Points List and the World’s Points List will come to a head at the European Masters, which marks the final event in Ryder Cup qualifying for Team Europe.

The last spot on the European Points List, currently occupied by Robert MacIntyre, will come down to six players and the necessary scenarios required. Yannik Paul is currently his nearest challenger at 126.09 points behind, but with 415 points awarded to this week’s winner, four others – Adrian Meronk, Victor Perez, Adrian Otaegui and 2021 European Masters champion Rasmus Højgaard – all have a mathematical chance at claiming a place in Luke Donald’s side.

See a full breakdown here of what each player needs to do.

Two-time European Masters champion Matt Fitzpatrick is also in the field this week and has the opportunity to dislodge Tommy Fleetwood on the World Points List. The pair are separated by just 3.82 points following the PGA TOUR’s Tour Championship last week, where Fleetwood finished in a tie for sixth and Fitzpatrick in a tie for ninth. To ensure the final spot is his, Fitzpatrick currently needs to finish tied 7th with one other player or better in Switzerland.

Following this week, Luke will name his six Captain’s picks on Monday September 4, highlighting this event as both important for qualification and a last minute chance to impress.

Sustainable approach

The European Masters was awarded GEO certification in 2023, an international benchmark for sustainability in golf.

As one of three GEO certified tournaments on the DP World Tour, host site Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club was recognised with GEO certification last year.

In recent years, the tournament has eliminated the use of single-use plastics in catering and the printing of start lists. Beginning this year, water fountains – introduced four years ago for players and staff – will also be available to the public in the entry zone and in the Mont-Blanc Village.

Despite the logistical challenges of accessing the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, the tournament is committed to promoting more sustainable mobility.

All players travelling in Switzerland will do so by public, multimodal and active transport, or electric car.

Esteemed winners

The European Masters trophy has been lifted by golfing royalty over its history as one of the longest standing events on the DP World Tour, dating back to the Tour’s inception in 1972 and missing just one year on the schedule (2020) in that 51-year span.

The impressive list of champions includes the late, great Seve Ballesteros, who earned the title on three occasions in Crans-Montana: He first triumphed in 1977 and successfully defended his title in 1978, before waiting 11 years to hoist the trophy for a final time in 1989.

Ballesteros is among a long list of European Ryder Cup Captains who have triumphed at this venue, making it a fitting place for qualification to end this week. Former World Number One and current skipper Luke Donald became a winner in Switzerland in 2004, while Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal, Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Thomas Bjørn have also etched their name on the trophy.

In more recent history, 2021 U.S. Open Champion Fitzpatrick became the only player since Ballesteros in 1978 to successfully defend his title, which he did twice in play-offs in 2017 and 2018.

Play-off history

Seven of the last nine editions of the European Masters have been decided by extra holes, with Lawrence’s victory over Wallace becoming the latest of those battles.

Sweden’s Sebastian Söderberg came out on top in a five-man play-off in 2019, where he held off Rory McIlroy to win his first DP World Tour title. A year earlier, Fitzpatrick sealed his second title in the mountains via extra holes against Lucas Bjerregaard, having won his first European Masters in the same fashion over Scott Hend in 2017.

That was Hend’s second play-off loss in a row, having lost out to Alex Noren in 2016 at the same venue. America’s David Lipsky won his maiden title on Tour after defeating Graeme Storm in 2014, while Bjørn added a second European Masters title to his trophy cabinet following a play-off against Craig Lee in 2013.

The only two winners in the last nine years who haven’t won in a play-off are Rasmus Højgaard, who finished one clear of Bernd Wiesberger in 2021, and Danny Willett, who beat Fitzpatrick by a single shot in 2015.

Source: European Tour



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