BERND Wiesberger claimed his second Rolex Series title of 2019 and third European Tour victory of the season with a hard-fought victory in the Italian Open.
The Austrian started the day three shots behind overnight leader Matthew Fitzpatrick, but carded a bogey-free final round of 65 to finish one shot clear of the Yorkshireman on 16-under.
Wiesberger, who now has a realistic chance of ending the season as the European No. 1, said: “It’s been a great summer for me. I’ve had a lot of good golf shown and a lot of progress after coming back from the last year.
“I’ve won three times this year and it’s been the same every time, I’ve just really enjoyed my time and I’m positive to be back out there because I know how tough it was when I had to withdraw from these great events.
“I’ve played really well in the right events in Ireland and the Scottish and here this week which helps getting up there in the Race to Dubai. I feel excited about what is ahead of us in these last four events.”
Wiesberger posted three consecutive birdies from the fifth hole followed by a further gain on the ninth.
And he went to the top of the leaderboard when Fitzpatrick, who had birdied the second, hit it out of bounds on the ninth leading to a double bogey.
He looked comfortably in control on the back nine with birdies on the 14th and 16th holes.
But Fitzpatrick staged an impressive fightback with three birdies in his final six holes, however the former Ryder Cup player could not find another on the last as he came up one stroke short.
That meant Wiesberger became the fifth player to win multiple Rolex Series titles after his maiden win in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, in July.
Wiesberger joins John Rahm, Justin Rose, Alex Noren and Danny Willett as multiple Rolex Series winners.
The 34-year-old now leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai with just six events remaining, having also won May’s Made in Denmark following seven months on the sidelines in 2018 due to a wrist injury.
Fitzpatrick signed for a round of 69 for a total of 15-under as he finished runner-up for the fourth time this season, having also come second in the Honma Hong Kong Open, the BMW International and the Scandinavian Invitation.
A disappointed Fitzpatrick said: “To lose by one is obviously very disappointing.
“I think I’ve played well when I’ve been up there on a Sunday, just other people really keep grinding and I keep coming up from behind.
“It is what it is. It’s still a great week, I’m here to win and not here to just make up the numbers.”
American Kurt Kitayama finished third on 12-under after a 71, a shot clear of Middlesex’s Andrew Johnston (68), Scot Robert MacIntyre (71) and another Austrian in Matthias Schwab (66), who shared fourth on 11-under.
Francesco Laporta posted a final round 68 to finish as the leading Italian player in a three-way share of seventh place.
•For the final results in the Italian Open click here.