BROOKLINE, Mass. – For a man who has won seven times on the DP World Tour, Matt Fitzpatrick certainly kicked ass here in the States.
Despite being a highly talented player, a frequent competitor and playing for two Ryder Cups, Fitzpatrick was often asked if he couldn't win on American soil.
Well, those questions are over.
In one of sport's holiest foundations in the country, England's Will Zalatoris and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler defeated on a cloudy, overcast Sunday at The Country Club to win the 122nd US Championship. Open.
After Fitzpatrick took the lead with a 50-foot birdie in 13 and then took the lead with a 19-foot birdie in 15, Fitzpatrick won the championship at 18 feet on the last hole, achieved by a brilliant bunker shot from 155 yards was missed - far to the left. He was getting up off the turf when Zatoris set up a 14-foot birdie putt that would have forced a jump-off. But Zalatoris' attempt missed by a hair's breadth and Fitzpatrick collapsed into the arms of his caddy, the legendary Billy Foster.
Welcome to the fraternity of US Open champions, Mr. Fitzpatrick.
US Open:scores|winner bag|Money prize
The moment@MattFitz94became a great champion!#US Open pic.twitter.com/YveBUjjfL4
— US Open (USGA) (@usopengolf)19. June 2022
“The feeling comes from another world. It's cliche, but these are things you dreamed about as a kid," Fitzpatrick said. "To achieve that, I can happily retire tomorrow."
A few minutes after scoring his biggest win yet, he received a congratulatory call from Jack Nicklaus, who has become a frequent lunchtime companion at Florida's Bear's Club. Well, Fitzpatrick, 27, who won the USA. Amateur Here On The Ground 2013 Made famous by Francis Ouimet in 1913 with his overwhelming victory over Ted Ray and Harry Vardon, he was the only two player to enter the Golden Bearwin the US Amateur and the US Openon the same course; Nicklaus made it at Pebble Beach in 1961 and 1972. Juli Inkster is the only player to have won the US title. Women's Amateur and the US Women's Open on the same course (Prairie Dunes, 1980, 2002).
"Any time you share a record with Jack Nicklaus, it's great," Fitzpatrick said. "So it's also amazing that I have that. There he called me at the time of the presentation to congratulate me. Coming from someone like that means the world."
Fitzpatrick closed at 2-under 68 and finished at 6-under. Zlatoris signed for 69 and Scheffler for 67, both finishing 5 under par.
It was another painful finish for Zatoris, who lost a tie break to Justin Thomas at last month's PGA Championship. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but he's more confident than ever that victory is on the way.
"I think this one will probably require a bit more processing than (the PGA)," Zalatoris said. "Like I said, I have no regrets. I think I've played really well all week, especially since the start I did today.
"Of course it hurts. Obviously I keep knocking on that door to have three runners-up in my majors career so far. Obviously we're doing the right things. He would pay top dollar for about an inch and a half and would probably be a three-time Grand Slam champion by now. We will continue to do what we do."
Scheffler, who has won his first four Tour titles this year, including the Masters, maintained his lead in the last nine but was beaten again at the shortest hole of the course. After going 6 under par, the Masters champion hit 10 after a missed drive and then bowled a three-putt 11 (throwing just 108 yards) for bogey. He doubled in the third round in 11th place and followed that up with three consecutive bogeys. He shagged on the 17th and narrowly missed from 23 feet on the 18th to drop a short shot.
“My game is still in a good place. I gave myself a chance to win the US Open. He played really well today under a lot of pressure. I scored a few key goals there early on to start today,” said Scheffler. “I just played quality golf. Turns out the putts went around the rim instead of inside. This seemed to be happening for most of the week. I was making a lot of good putts and they just wouldn't stop. A few pauses here or there and I would be the one holding the trophy.
"A kind of hat for Fitzy. He played great golf and definitely deserved to win this event. I don't know if they noticed, but I have a feeling he's made some extreme improvements to the tea in just a few months."
Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama went home with a week's best score of 65 and finished fourth with 3 short.
Two-time Major winner Collin Morikawa hurt his chances of a third Major on Saturday with a 77 but bounced back with his second 66 to finish 2 under par.
"Hopefully there won't be too many 7 overs in the future, but it's made me refocus and get back on track," Morikawa said. "Really start with the tee, put it on the fairway and then work your way up from there."
He also finished 2 under par Rory McIlroy, who signed for 69. The four-time Grand Slam winnerHe has played in 29 majors without winning his fifth.
“Another top 5 in a major. I don't think it means anything," McIlroy said. "The game is up. The game is up. I have one more start in Hartford next week before I go to the Open Championship.
“I'm going to get a good rest two weeks before the Open, play some links golf and get ready and I'm looking forward to that. Again, my game is in good shape. I have another opportunity this year to try to get this specialization.”
Fitzpatrick won his first major on his 26th attempt and has been climbing steadily every year, and Sunday's win propelled him to No. 10 in the official world golf rankings, the first time he has cracked the top 10.
He always worked as hard as he could and looked for unconventional ways to improve his game. Like his cross-chipping that started earlier this year. Keeping the rod in the hole when putting, which started last year. And he's always checking his thousands of notebooks, which contain data on every photo he's taken as a pro.
In rounds 68-70-68-68, Fitzpatrick kept his ball in play most of the time (hitting 17 greens usually in the last round), didn't commit a double bogey all week (which are killers in majors). and he shot very well the whole time.
And it took advantage of the extra length it added to its arsenal.
With each year's improvement came more opportunities for the dramatic. Like your bunker shot on the 72nd hole.
"It's undoubtedly one of the best pictures I've ever taken," he said. "You look at the week, the shots you're landing and the different times, it's weird because at that time it's probably going to be a big hit. To be honest I look back on my three approaches in 15, 16 and 17 as very, very good shots; 18 was a kind of success and hope.
With two country club wins, he now holds a special place in Fitzpatrick's heart. Whether you play another major here or not we will definitely be back.
"I love playing this golf course," he said. "It fits really well. It fits my game well. I've been playing it well for a while and I think it all came together that it would go here."