VYSOKY UJEZD, Czech Republic (AP) — Paul Peterson shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Czech Masters by one stroke and earn the 398th-ranked American his first victory on the European Tour.
In a close contest with defending champion Thomas Pieters of Belgium, Peterson took the decisive lead when he birdied the par-3 16th hole after a superb tee shot for a total 15-under 273 at the Albatross Golf Resort near Prague.
“It’s a dream come true, honestly,” Peterson said. “This is the best feeling in the world. My team and I have put in so much hard work and long hours by everybody and I’m just so happy. We had this as a goal this year and to be able to accomplish it means so much.”
Peterson, who had previously recorded only two top 10 finishes on the European Tour, began the final round two strokes behind Pieters after equaling the course record on Saturday with an 8-under 64.
Pieters missed his chances to birdie the 14th and 15th on his way to carding a 70, a week after a fourth-place finish at the Rio Olympic course.
He needed a victory to keep alive his hopes of an automatic place on Europe’s Ryder Cup team and attacked with a birdie on the 18th,. But it came too late after Peterson sealed the victory with a 17-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
“I’ll remember that putt on the 18th the rest of my life,” Peterson said.
Another Ryder Cup hopeful, Matthew Fitzpatrick of England, virtually secured a spot on captain Darren Clarke’s team for the matchup against the United States at Hazeltine with a fifth-place finish. A 3-under final round saw him finish five strokes behind Peterson.
Lee Westwood, who hopes to be a Ryder Cup wildcard pick, birdied two of the last three holes to shoot a level par for a 4-under 284.
Englishmen David Howell and Ryan Evans were tied for third on 11-under 277.