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Fabulous Fitzpatrick lands maiden Major at Brookline

Fabulous Fitzpatrick lands maiden Major at Brookline

Matt Fitzpatrick completed a historic Brookline double as he won the 122nd U.S. Open Championship to claim his maiden Major at the scene of his 2013 US Amateur Championship triumph.


The lead regularly changed hands throughout Sunday afternoon as the third Major Championship of the year reached a thrilling climax, with Fitzpatrick, his playing partner Will Zalatoris and World Number One Scottie Scheffler all hitting the front during a roller-coaster final round.

But two brilliant birdie putts at the 13th and 15th handed the advantage back to Fitzpatrick, and a stunning recovery shot at the 18th helped him save par there to sign for a 68 and secure a one-shot victory at The Country Club, Brookline.

Zalatoris almost forced a play-off, agonisingly missing his 14-foot birdie putt at the last. Instead he had to settle for a second runner-up finish in as many Majors as he joined Scheffler in a share of second place on five under par.

Hideki Matsuyama shot the lowest round of the week, with his spotless 65 earning him solo fourth on three under.

Fitzpatrick began the day in a two-way tie alongside Zalatoris at the top of the leaderboard but found himself behind in the early stages after Scheffler birdied three of the first four holes to go in front.

The Englishman joined Scheffler at the summit with a birdie from eight feet on the third before driving the fifth green and two-putting from 25 feet to get to six under.

After making his first bogey of the day at the sixth, Fitzpatrick got the shot back after finding the green in two at the par-five eighth to pull alongside Scheffler once more.

The 27-year-old soon led on his own after Scheffler was unable to get up and down from a bunker at the tenth.

Fitzpatrick gave himself a good chance to extend his new-found advantage at the ninth but could not convert his birdie effort, leaving him one clear of Scheffler and a charging Zalatoris at the turn.

Things began to go wrong for Fitzpatrick at the start of the back nine, as bogeys on the tenth and 11th turned his one-stroke lead into a two-shot deficit, with Zalatoris holing his birdie putt at the 11th.

But when Zalatoris dropped a shot on the 12th, Fitzpatrick found himself just one back.

The pendulum swung back Fitzpatrick's way on the 13th as he holed an enormous birdie putt to join Zalatoris on five under, letting out an almighty roar as the ball found the cup.

And Zalatoris did extremely well to keep hold of a share of the lead, saving par at the same hole after getting into tree trouble off the tee.

It was Fitzpatrick's turn to save par at the long 14th, as nothing could separate the co-leaders with four holes remaining.

But there was a dramatic change at the top at the next hole as Fitzpatrick recovered from an errant tee-shot to make a birdie from 18 feet and Zalatoris carded a bogey to slip two shots off the pace.

However, with Scheffler making his birdie putt at the 17th, he closed to within one of Fitzpatrick.

Zalatoris showed he was not finished yet, with a birdie two at the short 16th dragging him up into joint-second alongside Scheffler.

With both players in the final group making pars at the 17th and Scheffler parring the last, Fitzpatrick took a one-shot lead to the 18th tee.

After Fitzpatrick produced an unbelievable bunker shot to make par on the 18th, Zalatoris had the chance to force a play-off but just missed his birdie putt, leaving the Englishman to celebrate his first Major, and eighth DP World Tour title, with his family and caddie Billy Foster.

Fitzpatrick becomes the second man after Jack Nicklaus to win the US Amateur and U.S. Open on the same course, Nicklaus doing so at Pebble Beach.

He said: “It means the world.

“I don’t know if Jack (Nicklaus) is listening to this but he gave me a bit of abuse at the start of the year! I won the member-member at his club and he said 'finally, congratulations on winning in the States'.

“So I can go back to him and say 'Jack, I’ve won a second time this year'.

"The expectations were for me to play well, but I feel like having won the US Amateur here as well, I just felt so comfortable around this place. Know where to hit it, know where to miss it.

"I'm just happy to be unbeaten around this place.

"The feeling's out of this world. It is so cliche, but it's stuff you dream of as a kid. Yeah, to achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow."

Zalatoris, who is now a three-time runner-up at Major Championships, said after his final-round 69: "I've got no regrets. I thought I played great all week, especially getting off to the start that I did today.

"It stings obviously. Obviously to have three runner-ups so far in my career in Majors, but keep knocking on that door.

"We're obviously doing the right things. I'd pay a lot of money for about an inch-and-a-half, and I'd probably be a three-time Major Champion at this point. We'll just keep doing what we're doing."

Scheffler said: "It was kind of a roller-coaster week. To be at the end was definitely a lot of fun. Unfortunately, just came up one shot short."

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