By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
at PGA Catalunya Resort
Matthew Fitzpatrick delivered on the enormous potential he displayed during a stellar amateur career as the Englishman put together a flying finish to claim a European Tour card at the Qualifying School Final Stage in Girona.
On a sun-kissed final day at PGA Catalunya Resort in the north-east of Spain, the 20 year old Sheffield native made three birdies in his last five holes – including one at the par four 18th – for a closing four under par 68 and with it seized the 11th card for The 2015 Race to Dubai.
Fitzpatrick, the former World Amateur Number One and 2013 US Amateur Champion, turned professional following the US Open Championship at Pinehurst in June before finishing inside the top ten four times in nine appearances on the European Challenge Tour en route to a 48th place finish in the Rankings.
After progressing through the Second Stage by finishing tied fifth at Campo de Golf El Saler, it has been a mature performance and a focussed, determined effort in this week’s marathon golfing challenge, and he was clearly thrilled with the achievement.
“Words can’t even describe it,” said an elated Fitzpatrick. “I don’t really know what to say, I’ve never felt like this. It’s daft in a way as it’s not a win, but it feels like one in a way, as it is what everyone is trying to do at the start of the week, just get their card and go for it. I just can’t describe it!
“This week has been tough. It’s the hardest exam I have ever done – worse than school.I It is a tough week, a long week, and there is no messing. You’ve just got to do the best you can.
“I doubted it a little bit the other day, as you see a four over par score and think it could easily happen again – that’s golf – but at the same time you could shoot three under. It’s a difficult one but I’m so happy that I bounced back from it, and to finish like I did today with three birdies in the last six, it feels good.
“It was Chubby (Chandler) a few weeks ago that said my last six holes tend to slip away from me a bit, so I looked into it and while I’ve not told him yet, he was right. My last six for some reason are not as good as the others, so to improve on that today, well, you can’t ask for more than that.”
Precocious, highly talented, hardworking and extremely likeable, Fitzpatrick is already looking forward to testing his mettle against some of the world’s best in The 2015 Race to Dubai.
He said: “I don’t want to just worry about keeping my card, I want to contend next season. I don’t want to be here same time next year, so I want to do my best, play well and get to work. I’ll have a few days off now, and then get straight back to work.”