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Thompson holds nerve to scratch seven-year itch

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Michael Thompson celebrates his victory with the 3M Open trophy. Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thompson celebrates his victory with the 3M Open trophy. Photo: USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thompson celebrates his victory with the 3M Open trophy. Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thompson rounded off his victory at the 3M Open in style with a birdie at the final hole to bridge a gap of more than seven years between PGA Tour victories.

The 35-year-old American led going into the final round and held off the challenge of a surging pack behind him for a four-under round of 67 and a two-shot victory.

Adam Long and Robby Sheldon both gave themselves a chance with rounds of seven-under but Thompson held firm when the pressure came for his first victory in 167 starts. On Friday night, Seamus Power missed the cut after a round of 78.

On this side of the Atlantic, 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.

Paul Dunne finished in a tie for 38th.

Irish Independent