Rai conquers Hong Kong

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RAI SMILE: Aaron Rai won his first European Tour title. Credit: @hkgolfclub/Twitter

AARON Rai held off fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick to win his first European Tour title by one shot in the season-opening Hong Kong Open.

Fitzpatrick, 24, cut down Rai’s six-shot overnight lead to one but bogeyed the 17th, allowing the 23 year-old to win on 17 under with a bogey at the last.

“It’s incredible to win on any Tour, let alone the European Tour,” said three-time Challenge Tour winner Rai.

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“Matt played incredibly well but I just tried to play the course.”

Fitzpatrick birdied his first two holes to close within four and was three adrift after nine holes.

Four more birdies in his next six holes narrowed the gap to one but he missed a four-foot par putt on the penultimate hole to hand the advantage back to Rai.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who started the final round alongside Fitzpatrick in second, dropped back with a three-over 73.

Sergio Garcia shot a level-par 70 to finish joint sixth with fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello and India’s Shubhankar Sharma on nine under par.

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