McIlroy hoping to prevent Fitzgerald bid for unprecedented European Masters hat-trick

McIlroy hoping to prevent Fitzgerald bid for unprecedented European Masters hat-trick

Rory McIlroy will lead the field bidding to prevent Matt Fitzpatrick from winning an unprecedented hat-trick of Omega European Masters titles this week.

McIlroy will head to Switzerland’s Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club at the top of his game after winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title for the second time in four years on Sunday.

But Fitzpatrick could be the man to beat. The 24-year-old from Sheffield became the first player since Seve Ballesteros in 1978 to win back-to-back European Masters titles last year and is aiming to make it an unprecedented treble this weekend.

McIlroy, who pocketed the US dollars 15million (£12.3million) first prize in Atlanta, will feature in an 8.30am start alongside English duo Lee Westwood and Matt Wallace.

Fitzpatrick will tee off at 1.30pm with 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia and world number 13 Tommy Fleetwood.

Former world number one Luke Donald will head out with Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and Miguel Angel Jimenez, the Spaniard playing in the tournament for the 30th time, at 8.50am.

Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, back at Crans Montana for the first time in five years, will start at 1.20pm alongside Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre and Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, who lost to Fitzpatrick in a play-off last year.

- Press Association

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