US Amateur Champion Matthew Fitzpatrick hopes he can sign his amateur career off in style when he makes his final appearance before turning professional at this week’s US Open Championship.
The 19 year old has achieved great things in the amateur ranks, and he is going out on a high having been paired with defending champion Justin Rose and World Number 11 Phil Mickelson.
The cut-throat world of professional golf awaits, but Fitzpatrick has been able to absorb plenty of advice from some of the best players on the planet, including Rory McIlroy, with whom he played a practice round on Pinehurst’s No. 2 course on Tuesday.
“Rory has been a great help,” said Fitzpatrick, who topped the World Amateur Golf Ranking in 2013 after his triumph at The Country Club in Massachusetts and later that year won the silver medal at The Open Championship.
“Several of the guys have been great with me. It was nice to speak to Rory and pick his brains about a few things. I didn’t really talk to him about golf stuff; it was just nice to speak to him. He said himself that I can ask him any questions I have, so that’s nice. It was good finding someone like that who’s willing to help me and show me the ropes, and he’s certainly done that and more.”
Fitzpatrick, one of 12 amateurs in the field this week, missed out on making the cut at the Masters Tournament earlier this year by a single stroke, and he hopes he can learn from that experience to make the weekend at Pinehurst.
“That’s my aim really, to make the cut," continued Fitzpatrick, who would become the first amateur to win the US Open since John Goodman in 1933 if he were to complete a remarkable victory this week.
"Hopefully I can make the weekend and push on from there – that’s been my aim for the Majors I’ve played in so far.
“To be finishing my amateur career at the US Open, a Major, is pretty cool. I’ve played as an amateur for many years, and men’s golf for the last two or three, but it’s a different place out here on tour. It’s a big change, but you’ve got to accept that it’s the right time, and you move on.”
Of the testing, links-like track at the North Carolina venue, the 2013 Walker Cup player added: “It’s different. It’s a very different type of course to finish my amateur career on. It’s sort of a mix between an Open Championship course and a US Open course, and everyone I’ve spoken to has said they’ve not seen a course like it before. I’m looking forward to it.”