HONG KONG – Aaron Rai won the Hong Kong Open on Sunday in difficult conditions that featured torrential rain for most of the afternoon to give him his first European tour win.
The 23-year-old Englishman who started the day with a six-stroke lead narrowly kept his nose in front as countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick played a superb round, hitting seven birdies to narrow the gap to just one shot after 16 holes.
A bogey by Fitzpatrick on the 17th, his first mistake of the day, gave Rai a two-stroke cushion as they headed into the final hole.
''It was such a simple bogey,'' said Fitzpatrick. ''But I gave it a good go, you know it was always going to be tough to beat him (Rai) and for the last two days he has played very solid golf, not giving anything away which just makes my life more difficult.''
Rai shot a 69 for an overall total of 17-under-par 263, while Fitzpatrick finished second a shot back after a 64 on the final day.
Rai who hit a course record on Friday kept his composure to see through the win that had him playing with five-time winner on the European Tour Matthew Fitzpartick and Tommy Fleetwood.
''You almost have to reset going into the weekend,'' said Rai. ''And just try a repeat what you did on the first two days over the last two days. It feels like it is a lot harder to do that on the weekend, but it was nice to perform well on Saturday and Sunday.''
Jason Scrivener and Victor Perez were tied third on 11 under.