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A successful homecoming for Matthew Fitzpatrick

The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts will forever hold a special place in Matthew Fitzpatrick’s heart. In 2013, it was there that he won the American Amateur Championship. Sunday is where he won the US Open.

Posted at 6:57 p.m.
Updated at 7:40 p.m.

Nicholas Richard

Nicholas Richard
The Press

The Englishman celebrated his first victory on the PGA Tour with his mother and brother in tears, after a failed putt by Will Zalatoris which would have caused an extension.

” I have no words. This is what I have dreamed of for so long,” he explained after the tournament.

Fitzpatrick, shy and reserved by nature, always goes a little under the radar, but this victory will certainly give him a reputation to match his talent.

At 27, he had never triumphed in the United States. Aside from his fifth-place finish a few weeks ago at the PGA Championship, he had never really enjoyed major tournament success. “To have a major as your first win is extraordinary. »

The progression of 18e world player let all the same predict that he was going to savor an important title before long. The prophecy finally came true. Fitzpatrick won the tournament with a score of -6.

nerves of steel

Fitzpatrick is not only an excellent golfer, but he is also an exceptional student. Since his debut in the world of golf, he notes each of his shots. Whether in his practice rounds or in the final round of a major tournament. After each shot, he writes in his notebook all kinds of data such as the club used, the weather, the direction of the wind, the type of grass, the distance, the curve and the direction of the ball, among others. So he is equipped to deal with all kinds of situations, because he has studied all kinds of situations meticulously.

Although the course at Brookline is quite a challenge, especially with the long grass and the position of the bunkers, Fitzpatrick took advantage of playing at home, in a way. He had already won on this course. It was then a question of repeating the exploit.

He started the day in first place, at -4, tied with Zalatoris, who was also looking for his first title.

Fitzpatrick had a good nine to go by giving a card of 33 (- 2). Even though he was in control, the most difficult thing for him was to ignore, as much as possible, the players who were fighting alongside him for victory. On the one hand, his playing partner, Zalatoris, who is always successful in major tournaments and who lost in overtime to Justin Thomas at the last PGA Championship. On the other, Scottie Scheffler, best player in the world and reigning champion of the Masters Tournament.

All of these players have at one time or another held the lead, thanks to high quality shots. Fitzpatrick even got the jitters early in the back nine as he stumbled with two bogeys at the 10e and 11e holes. In particular, he needed three putts to finish the 11e.

While the fight between “Fitz” and “Willy-Z” was at its height in the 13e, the most difficult hole on the course, Fitzpatrick thrilled the Boston crowd with a very long putt of several tens of feet to achieve the birdie. Rarely expressive, he raised his fist and shouted his satisfaction. From that point on, Fitzpatrick was on a mission and he never looked back.

“I had a lot of patience. I wanted to stay focused and do well on all 18 greens. I did well today and that’s what it took,” added Fitzpatrick.

At 15e, after an erratic shot on the right, he took advantage of the grass trampled by the fans to place his second shot on the green. On the other hand, Zalatoris did not have the same luck. The Englishman stalled another long putt, this time to take the lead by two.

On his way to victory, one shot ahead on the last hole, the future champion sent his tee shot into a bunker on the left. A position far from ideal, since he had his feet elevated and an angle of attack almost zero. “I thought for a long time about my departure at 18e and I especially didn’t want to go in the sand. »

He hit his approach shot straight onto the green, and the rest is history. “Finally, I hit one of the best shots of my career,” he said.

A career that will forever be defined as that of a major tournament winner.

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