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Paratore triumphs in style

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Renato Paratore

Renato Paratore

PA

Renato Paratore

Renato Paratore missed out on a place in the history books but ensured his name will be etched on the British Masters trophy alongside the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo with an almost flawless victory at Close House.

The 23-year-old Italian had been aiming to become the first player to win a European Tour event without making a single bogey since Jesper Parnevik at the 1995 Scandinavian Masters.

And although his brilliant run of error-free golf finally came to an end on his 63rd hole of the week, a final round of 68 in testing conditions saw him finish 18-under par, three shots ahead of Danish teenager Rasmus Hojgaard.

In the European Tour's full return to action after nearly five months of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Paratore's fellow players formed a socially-distant guard of honour behind the 18th green and he was surprised with a FaceTime call with his mother Cristina.

"It was really amazing," Paratore said. "I did not expect that from my friends on the Tour and it was a really good situation. I loved it and also to see my mum was a lovely surprise."

Down's Jonathan Caldwell finished in joint-eight following a one-under final round of 70, comprised of four birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.

It was the Clandeboye native's best display on the European Tour, after qualifying from Q School in November. The 36-year-old had previously been on the Tour back in 2009 for a solitary season.

Paratore's first blemish came after missing the green on the ninth, where tournament host Lee Westwood had earlier run up a quintuple-bogey eight, but he produced the perfect response to birdie the next to briefly move three shots clear.

Another bogey on the 11th gave the chasing pack hope, but they were unable to apply any significant pressure and Paratore made certain of victory with a birdie on the par-five 17th. Justin Harding finished alone in third after a closing 72, with the English trio of Andy Sullivan, Robert Rock and Dale Whitnell sharing fourth place on 13-under.