Matt Fitzpatrick: “I have no words, this is what one dreams of growing up”

 

In the first victory of his PGA career, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick won the US Open on Sunday, beating Americans Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler, the world number one, in a heart-stopping finish.

Fitzpatrick, ranked 18th, is the seventh golfer to open his record with a Grand Slam title and the first to do so since Danny Willett at the 2016 Augusta Masters.

Zalatoris, also fighting for his first tour title, had a chance to force the tiebreaker on the last hole, but missed a dramatic 14-foot putt that put Fitzpatrick on a platter at The Country Club in Brookline ( Massachusetts).

"I have no words, this is what one dreams of growing up. It’s something I’ve worked very hard for for a long time."Fitzpatrick said excitedly.

"To have my first victory in a ‘Major’, there is nothing better"said the Englishman, who also joins the legendary Jack Nicklaus as the only players to have achieved victories in both the professional and amateur US Opens on the same course.

For Zalatoris, on the other hand, it was a new lost opportunity after falling in May in the PGA Championship playoff against Justin Thomas and also being runner-up in the Masters in 2021.

The promising Californian golfer, 25 years old, remains as the best positioned player in the ranking (14) who has not released his record.

Fitzpatrick, 27, finished Sunday with a card of 68 shots (-2) and a cumulative 274 (-6), one ahead of Zalatoris and Scheffler.

The Englishman, who had started the day in the co-leadership with Zalatoris, succeeds the Spanish Jon Rahm in the record of the US Open.

Second-ranked Rahm, who entered his round trailing the co-leaders by a single shot, had an unfortunate 74 (+4) performance and finished in 12th place.

Rahm, no double
On Saturday, Rahm had been the sturdiest of the favorites in the day’s terrifying wind, only relinquishing the top of the table when he bunkered the ball twice on the final hole, making a double bogey.

Even so, the Spaniard aspired to impose his greatest experience against Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris in the decisive round.

A year ago, Rahm had celebrated his first Grand Slam victory at the Open held in La Jolla (California), which was also the first for Spanish golf.

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But on Sunday Rahm quickly gave up his chances of retaining the title in a frustrating run with five bogeys and only one birdie.

"The truth is that it hurts because of how well I’ve played all week. Today things have not gone from the beginning"said a disappointed Rahm. "I have not been comfortable with any part of the game today and it has shown".

"Defending a title is difficult and doing it in a big tournament is even more so"he acknowledged.

end of heart attack
Although they watched with relief as Rahm deflated, Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick were quickly overtaken by Scottie Scheffler, who flew early in the day with four birdies over the first six holes.

The winner of the last Augusta Masters aspired to join the absent Tiger Woods as the only golfers to have won the US Open while being number one in the world.

As Scheffler accelerated, Zalatoris tumbled down with two bogeys on the first three holes. The American, however, rejoined the race when both Scheffler and Fitzpatrick stumbled into back-to-back bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes.

The final stretch of the tournament became a three-way duel, with Fitzpatrick reaching a two-shot lead with only three holes to play.

Scheffler was the first to finish his round and left the course tied with Zalatoris, both one shot away from Fitzpatrick, who only had to resist on the last hole.

Tension rose as Fitzpatrick sent his tee shot into the bunker, giving Zalatoris wings to charge for the tie. The Englishman, however, hit a fabulous approach shot from the sand that allowed him to close the last hole even while Zalatoris, with all the pressure on him, missed the putt that would have sent the tournament to a final playoff. .

Fitzpatrick will receive a record $3.15 million for the win out of a total purse of $17.5 million.

All these figures are lower than those delivered last week in the first event of the LIV Golf series, backed by Saudi Arabia, which offered $4.75 million to the winner (Charl Schwartzel) and distributed a total of $25 million.

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