Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fitzpatrick becomes the first Englishman to win the US Open since 2013

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England’s Matt Fitzpatrick created a magical moment en route to his first major title and historic double at the 122nd US Open in Brookline.

A shot behind partner Will Zatoris with six holes to play, Fitzpatrick holed from 50 feet for a birdie down the 13th green to equalize and briefly went two shots away with another on the 15th.

Scottie Scheffler, the world no.

The win means Fitzpatrick is the only player along with 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus to win the US Amateur and US Open on the same course, Nicklaus did so in 1961 and 1972 at Pebble Beach.

With his brother Alex under his belt, Fitzpatrick won the US Amateur in Brookline in 2013, and in the same year Justin Rose became the last Englishman to win the US Open in Merion.

For the second straight Major, Fitzpatrick made the final round of the final group after partnering with Mito Pereira at the US PGA’s Southern Hills last month.

On that occasion, a final 73 meant Fitzpatrick missed the playoff between Zulatoris and Justin Thomas by two shots, Thomas securing his second US PGA three-hole shootout title.

Three birdies in the first five holes of the last round had given Scheffler the lead, but Fitzpatrick holed from 7 feet for a birdie on the third and two-putted the short par-4 fifth for another after driving the green.

The 27-year-old from Sheffield then made a three-putt from long range to land his first shot of the day, but his increased length off the tee paid off again on the par-5 eight as he closed the green in two hit an easy birdie put up.

That put him back in part of the lead and he was soon alone in the lead as Scheffler threw his first shot of the day on the 10th and then the 108-yard-11. 3-putt – the hole that cost him a double bogey on the round three.

Zlatoris had nearly potted his approach to seventh and also birdied for the ninth to close within a shot from playmate Fitzpatrick, who surprisingly missed from four feet for par on the 10th after a splash from a bunker.

A birdie on the 11th gave Zatoris the first lead and moments later he had a two-shot lead while Fitzpatrick was making three putts from just inches from the hole on an identical line.

However, Zalatoris missed out on 12th and saw his lead wiped out in spectacular fashion on the next. Fitzpatrick let out a mighty roar after potting from 50 feet down the green for an unlikely birdie.

Another birdie on the 15th, coupled with a bogey by Zatoris, briefly gave Fitzpatrick a two-shot lead, but Scheffler and Zalatoris kept the pressure on with birdies on the 17th and 16th, respectively.

Zulatoris then narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 17th and missed agonizingly from 14 feet on the last to force what would have been a fourth straight US Open playoff at Brookline.

Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama posted a final round of 65, the week’s lowest round, and finished fourth with three under, Rory McIlroy and Open champion Collin Morikawa tied for fifth with two under.

McIlroy felt he was just one great round away from his fifth Major title and first since 2014 after battling 73 on Saturday, but he shuffled four birdies and four bogeys in his first 14 holes and eventually signed for a 69

Defending champion Jon Rahm started the final round just a shot off the lead but fought his way to a final 74.

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