Huge crowds watch Masters as players hail ‘fantastic’ event
SELL-OUT crowds turned up at Hillside golf club to watch the Betfred British Masters, hosted by Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood with Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult taking the trophy on Sunday.
Nearly 65,000 attended the event over the four days.
Players hailed the tournament a huge success with several stating they loved playing at the Hillside course in front of what the Australian Dimitrios Papadatos called “unbelievable” crowds while Stephen Gallacher tweeted “Well done Tommy Fleetwood, you hosted a fantastic British_Masters on your home turf, your a credit to the game of golf” and Pablo Larrazabal called it an “awesome tournament” and thanked to the British fans, adding “sold out over the weekend is unreal... what a week.”
It was a dramatic finish to the event, with Kinhult sinking an eight foot birdie putt on the last to finish on 16 under par and take home a cheque of £500,000.
He finished just one shot above England’s Eddie Pepperell, and Matt Wallace and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.
Fleetwood finished on 10 under par and in joint eighth place.
Kinhult said: “I am speechless. It happened so fast.
“Matt Wallace was leading and I was behind going into 17, but I made a birdie there.
“Then all of a sudden I had a putt to win on 18. It is really special – I have been waiting for this moment for 20 years now and I am really happy to win.
“The knees and hands were knocking over the winning putt. I have never felt that type of pressure before, it is different and I am happy to make that putt.
“It was a great battle with Matt, Eddie and Robert. It is a great tournament, great golf course and great crowd. It has been a massive week.” Fleetwood was disappointed with his final round but commented: “It has been a cool week and very special for a number of reasons. I would have loved to have played better today and given the crowd a few more cheers.
“The number one thing I wanted to do when I was asked to host the event was to bring it to Southport, which is where I am from. I know so many people here.
“I knew it would be a great event, of course I did, we all did.
“But this has exceeded all expectations on so many levels and I am so grateful to everyone involved, including: those who have grafted and worked at the event; to those who have volunteered; and to the people who have come and watched. It has been unbelievable.”
Fleetwood, who was even on the course sanding divots at the end of one of the rounds, added: “It seems unimaginable that this event might not have happened this year when you see what has happened this week.
“There have been a lot of families and kids out here and it has been great to see. It has been good to play infront of as well. Hopefully we have done our bit in growing the game.”
Matthew Baldwin, also from Southport, finished on level par and Lee Slattery, from the town missed the cut.
Among the initiatives launched during the week was the Tommy Fleetwood Academy at Formby Hall Golf Club to introduce more kids into the game.
Fleetwood commented: “I know I was the face of the event and the academy, our academy, but none of it's about me. This was all about bringing a tournament to everybody in the northwest.
“And the academy is the same. I want kids to have a chance to enjoy the game and I want them to learn and play. I was the face of the event and I had the opportunity to do something special and bring it here, but it's about everyone else and everyone else did a great job.”
The week had started with a Pro-Am on the Wednesday, and it saw different celebrities taking part including: Sir Kenny Dalglish and David Moyes.