BROOKLINE, Mass. — Matt Fitzpatrick of England is a champion once more at The Nation Membership, this time with the grandest of trophies in golf.
A U.S. Beginner champion in 2013. The U.S. Open champion Sunday.
In a three-way battle at Brookline that got here all the way down to the wire, Fitzpatrick seized management with an amazing break and a good higher shot on the fifteenth gap for a two-shot swing. He was simply as clutch from a fairway bunker on the 18th that arrange par for a 2-under 68.
Victory was not safe till Will Zalatoris, who confirmed superb battle again from each mistake, dropped to his knees when his 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th simply slid by the left facet of the cup. Zalatoris, who closed with a 69, was a runner-up within the second straight main.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler by no means recovered from back-to-back bogeys to start out the again 9 that value him the lead. He had a 25-foot birdie likelihood on the 18th that simply missed and left him one behind with a 67.
Together with the $3.15 million in prize cash, Fitzpatrick had that gold Jack Nicklaus medal draped round his neck, which was solely becoming.
Fitzpatrick is the second man to win a U.S. Beginner and U.S. Open on the identical course, becoming a member of Nicklaus, who turned the trick at Pebble Seashore. Juli Inkster gained the U.S. Ladies’s Beginner and U.S. Ladies’s Open at Prairie Dunes.
Fitzpatrick, who briefly performed at Northwestern earlier than turning professional, gained for the eighth time worldwide, and this was his first in America — a minimum of a event everybody is aware of about. He gained the member-member at The Bear’s Membership in Florida in the beginning of the 12 months, the course Nicklaus constructed.
“He gave me a little bit of abuse in the beginning of the 12 months. He mentioned, ‘Lastly. Congratulations for profitable within the States,’” Fitzpatrick mentioned.
After which barely lifting the trophy, Fitzpatrick despatched a enjoyable message to Nicklaus: “Jack, I gained a second time.”
It took a great break, a signature shot and a few guts on the finish.
Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris have been tied going to the fifteenth when the Englishman hit his tee shot up to now proper that it went into the gallery and located an honest lie on grass that was useless and trampled. Zalatoris missed by only some yards and was buried in deep grass.
He hit 5-iron from 220 yards to 18 ft beneath the opening. Zalatoris went into the entrance bunker, blasted out to 25 ft and made bogey. Fitzpatrick took a two-shot lead when his birdie putt went into the cup with such good tempo it didn’t even contact the pin he leaves within the cup.
Zalatoris once more bounced again, taking up a tricky pin on the par-3 sixteenth to 7 ft for birdie to chop the result in one shot. Each missed 12-foot birdie probabilities on the seventeenth, after which Fitzpatrick missed a fairway on the mistaken time, pulling it left right into a bunker with a steep patch of tough proper in entrance of him.
It regarded like a playoff was eminent — the earlier three U.S. Opens at Brookline have been all determined by a playoff — after which Fitzpatrick fearless hit a fade with a 9-iron that carried the gaping bunker in entrance of the inexperienced and settled 18 ft away.
He narrowly missed and will solely watch as Zalatoris missed his final likelihood.
“Matt’s shot on 18 goes to be proven in all probability for the remainder of U.S. Open historical past,” Zalatoris mentioned. “I walked by it, and I assumed that going for it was going to be ballsy. However the truth that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was simply unbelievable.
“So hat’s off to him. He performed nice all week clearly and gave a strong spherical right this moment.”
Fitzpatrick completed at 6-under 134.
The 27-year-old Fitzpatrick, the primary Englishman since Justin Rose in 2013 to win the U.S. Open, felt his time was coming. He’s meticulous in charting his pictures and retains a file of all of them to determine what wants work. And he emphasised pace in his swing during the last two years, giving him the size and the idea to compete with anybody.
That didn’t make Sunday any simpler, a three-man race from the beginning when Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy fell again and by no means rejoined the combo.
Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris, who shared the 54-hole lead, every had a two-shot lead at one level.
Zalatoris, who misplaced in a playoff to Justin Thomas within the PGA Championship final month, recovered from two early bogeys. They have been tied when Zalatoris made an 18-foot birdie putt on the brief par-3 eleventh, and Fitzpatrick three-putted for bogey from the identical vary.
The 25-year-old from Dallas all of a sudden had a two-shot lead. He additionally couldn’t hold the ball within the fairway, and it value him with a dropped shot on No. 12. After which got here one other huge turning level, with Fitzpatrick holing a 50-foot birdie putt throughout the thirteenth inexperienced. Zalatoris did effectively to make his 15-footer for par they usually headed for the tense conclusion.
Scheffler was nonetheless hanging round in his bid for a second main this 12 months, however everybody else turned a distant reminiscence. Hideki Matsuyama had the low spherical of the week at 65, however he completed at 3-under 277, and that was by no means going to be adequate.
Ultimately, it was Fitzpatrick sharing hugs together with his household on the inexperienced, together with youthful brother Alex, who caddied for him within the U.S. Beginner and just lately turned professional.
And there was his caddie, Billy Foster, one of the fashionable, long-serving loopers in Europe who had by no means been on the bag for a significant till Sunday.
“Billy mentioned it for some time to maintain doing what you’re doin and the prospect will come,” Fitzpatrick mentioned. “It did, and I took it.”