Thomas Pieters enjoys history-making Czech Masters victory in Prague

Thomas Pieters of Belguim celebrates with the trophy after winning the D+D Real Czech Masters
Thomas Pieters of Belguim celebrates with the trophy after winning the D+D Real Czech Masters

Belgium’s Thomas Pieters made history as he claimed his maiden European Tour title, clinching the Czech Masters in Prague with a three-shot victory.

Pieters’ triumph made him the youngest Belgian to win in European Tour history, aged 23 years and 215 days as he beat Philippe Toussaint’s previous record of 25 years and 48 days when he won the 1974 Benson and Hedges Festival.

Overnight leader Pieters, who turned professional two years ago, recorded a final round 69 – after recovering from a double bogey on the front nine - which included five birdies as he sealed a 20 under par win.

Michael Hoey (pictured below) slipped down the leaderboard after carding a final round, one over par 73 that left him in a share of 22nd.

Damien McGrane was the best placed Irishman, his final round 68 moving him up and into a share of eighth.

“This means everything to me. You work all year long for this and all my life right up to now,” said Pieters.

“To be a European Tour winner is an amazing feeling right now. I’m happy to have my family with me and I’m very proud of the way I played today, especially after that early double.

“It was special having my family here with me. I called them yesterday and they were in Belgium.

For them to be here right now is pretty cool that they can experience this with me. They drove through the night to get here. It is a nine hour journey, but it is great to have them here.

“It’s great to get a victory so early in my career. There are so many players out here that maybe haven’t won, or who have just won once, so I am really happy right now.”

Three shots further back at the Albatross Golf Resort, closest competitor Pelle Edberg, who trailed by one shot after the third round, recorded birdies on the first, second and ninth holes, but bogeys on the third and 11th saw him finish with 71 on 17 under.

England’s former US amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who had been in touch with the leaders all weekend, impressed as he began his final round with four consecutive birdies before eventually finishing a shot further back thanks to a final round 68 to come home third.

“It’s a good week for me, finishing third. I got off to a great start today,” said Fitzpatrick.

“It would have been nice to have carried it on. I gave myself great chances on five, six, seven and eight, and then stalled on the back nine. I was a couple of clubs out on a couple of holes, but I can’t complain. At the start of the year I would have taken finishing third here.

Compatriot Robert Dinwiddie was fourth after three birdies on the front nine before a mixed back nine of three bogeys and two further birdies saw him finish with 70.

Three shots further back and in a three-way tie for fifth were Italy’s Renato Paratore, Roope Kakko of Finland and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

Scotland’s Craig Lee was a shot further back in a five-way tie for eighth following a round of 70 which included birdies on the third and 18th holes.