Fitzpatrick hangs on, wins U.S. Open for 1st major

Golf

BROOKLINE, Mass. — A playoff was looming Sunday within the U.S. Open, similar to it at all times does at The Nation Membership, when Matt Fitzpatrick sized up his shot from a bunker left of the 18th fairway.

He had a 1-shot lead over Will Zalatoris and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. He had an enormous patch of rough-filled turf in entrance of him, together with a gaping bunker defending the inexperienced and a flag 156 yards away. Nothing lower than a U.S. Open title was on the road.

On a again 9 stuffed with clutch moments, Fitzpatrick delivered the largest of all of them.

“Among the best pictures I ever hit,” he stated.

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Fitzpatrick hit 9-iron that began across the steep lip — a “squeezy fade,” he known as it — carried the entrance bunker and settled 18 toes away, establishing a par for a 2-under 68 that made the Englishman a significant champion for his first skilled win in America.

He received the U.S. Newbie at Brookline in 2013, making him the thirteenth man to win each the U.S. Newbie and the U.S. Open in his profession — and solely the second to win each on the identical course. Jack Nicklaus, the identify on the gold winner’s medal draped round his neck, turned the trick at Pebble Seaside. Juli Inkster received the U.S. Girls’s Newbie and U.S. Girls’s Open at Prairie Dunes.

“The sensation’s out of this world,” Fitzpatrick stated. “It’s so cliché, however it’s stuff you dream of as a child. Yeah, to realize it, I can retire a contented man tomorrow.”

Zalatoris, with outstanding resiliency throughout a tense battle at Brookline, had a 15-foot birdie to drive a playoff. He dropped to his knees when the putt slid by the left fringe of the cup. He shot 69 and was runner-up for the third time up to now seven majors; he misplaced in a playoff to Justin Thomas within the PGA Championship final month.

Zalatoris and Scheffler, who earlier had an extended birdie putt to catch as much as Fitzpatrick, did all they might. Fitzpatrick was satisfied his time was coming, and he grabbed it.

The celebration felt acquainted. Fitzpatrick shared tearful hugs together with his mother and father and his youthful brother, Alex, who caddied for him within the Newbie. He stayed with the identical household.

The payoff was $3.15 million and a title — main champion — that cash cannot purchase.

One of many first telephone calls got here from Nicklaus, the four-time U.S. Open champion. Seems Fitzpatrick received the member-member at The Bear’s Membership — the course Nicklaus inbuilt South Florida — and what the Golden Bear stated that day was not forgotten.

“He gave me a little bit of abuse at first of the yr. He stated, ‘Lastly. Congratulations for profitable within the States,'” Fitzpatrick stated. After which, barely lifting the trophy, Fitzpatrick despatched a enjoyable message to Nicklaus: “Jack, I received a second time.”

Fitzpatrick turned the primary participant since Graeme McDowell in 2010 to earn his first PGA Tour win on the U.S. Open.

It took a very good break, a signature shot and a few guts on the finish.

Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris had been tied going to the fifteenth when the Englishman hit his tee shot to this point proper that it went into the gallery and located an honest lie on grass that was useless and trampled. Zalatoris missed by only some yards and was buried in deep grass.

Matt Fitzpatrick turned the second man to win a U.S. Newbie and U.S. Open on the identical course, becoming a member of Jack Nicklaus who received at Pebble Seaside in 1961 and 1972. Andrew Redington/Getty Pictures

“I really feel like all yr we have simply had moments the place I’ve simply not caught a break, simply not had a lie, simply not had a bounce. This time I get there, and the ball’s sitting completely,” Fitzpatrick stated. “It was among the finest pictures I hit all day.”

He blistered a 5-iron from 220 yards to 18 toes under the outlet. Zalatoris went into the entrance bunker, blasted out to 25 toes and made bogey. Fitzpatrick took a 2-shot lead when his birdie putt went into the cup with such excellent tempo it did not even contact the pin he leaves within the cup.

“To do this and reap the benefits of the break I had was improbable,” Fitzpatrick stated.

Zalatoris once more bounced again, taking over a troublesome pin on the par-3 sixteenth to 7 toes for birdie to chop the result in 1 shot. Each missed 12-foot birdie possibilities on the seventeenth, after which Fitzpatrick missed a fairway on the fallacious time. It appeared like a playoff was eminent — the earlier three U.S. Opens at Brookline had been all determined by a playoff — till the shot of his life.

Fitzpatrick, 27, completed at 6-under 274. He turned the primary Englishman since Justin Rose in 2013 to win the U.S. Open, and the youngest participant from England to win a significant since Tony Jacklin on the 1970 U.S. Open. He felt his time was coming.

Fitzpatrick is meticulous in charting his pictures and retains a report of all of them to determine what wants work. And he emphasised pace in his swing over the previous two years, giving him the size and the assumption to compete with anybody.

That did not make Sunday any simpler, a three-man race from the beginning when Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy fell again and by no means rejoined the combination.

Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris, who shared the 54-hole lead, every had a 2-shot lead at one level.

Hideki Matsuyama had the low spherical of the week at 65, however he completed at 3-under 277, and that was by no means going to be adequate. McIlroy had a 69 and completed within the group 4 pictures behind with Collin Morikawa (66).

Fitzpatrick could not cease smiling as he carried off the trophy, huge and silver and glossy just like the U.S. Newbie prize, solely way more significant. And there was one other poignant second on the finish. His caddie, Billy Foster, one of many longest-serving and hottest loopers in Europe, eliminated the flag from the 18th pin. That is his trophy.

“Billy stated it for some time to maintain doing what you are doing and the prospect will come,” Fitzpatrick stated. “It did, and I took it.”

ESPN Stats & Data and The Related Press contributed to this report.

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