Monday, 21 March 2016
Matthew Fitzpatrick  (Getty Images)
Matthew Fitzpatrick (Getty Images)
Matthew Fitzpatrick is one of seven European Tour members making their debut in this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, and the Englishman is already thinking about a taking the scalp of one of the world’s best players.

The world number 44 is hopeful making the European Ryder Cup team for the contest at Hazeltine National in September, and he believes this week presents a great chance to state his match play credentials.

“It’s a good opportunity to maybe do a bit of a giant-killing – that’s the plan anyway,” said the 21 year old as he practised at Austin Country Club in Texas. "It would be pretty cool and it would bode well for the Ryder Cup.

“I love playing match play. Particularly at pro level you get so many 72-hole stroke play events, it’s so nice to have something different.

“My approach isn’t something I’m consciously thinking about. It’s just something I’ve learned as an amateur, and the more I played it the more experienced I became in dealing with different situations.”

Byeong Hun An, Emiliano Grillo, Russell Knox, David Lingmerth, Thomas Pieters and Jaco Van Zyl are the other six European Tour debutants, and all will be taking inspiration from Danny Willett, who took third place on his first appearance in the event last year.

There will be no holding back for Knox, a WGC winner last year at the WGC-HSBC Champions, who joked: “You’re trying to murder the guy you’re playing. You need to rip their heart out.

You don’t care if you shoot five over, as long as you beat your opponent.
Russell Knox

“You have to play the course at the start, but towards the end, if he messes up, you just make sure you don’t mess up.

“I have been looking forward to this event for many, many years. I was reasonably close last year but didn’t quite make it. I grew up playing match play all the time, but I haven’t done it in years competitively. I’m looking forward to this a lot."

 South African Van Zyl added: “I don’t think I’ve played match play once since I turned pro, many years ago, so it’s going to be interesting.

“It’s always nice to be in the States and playing WGC events with the world’s best players, so I’m really looking forward to it. 

“There are 65 top-class players in the field so I don’t think it makes too much difference who I get drawn with.

Whoever’s in my group, I’m going to need to play really well.
Jaco Van Zyl

“I’m playing nicely and it’s starting to pick up after a slow-ish start to the year.”

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