Matthew Fitzpatrick writes history in the last few meters of the US Open: one of the most important golf tournaments ends in a thriller, the story of the young professional has fairytale moments - and all of this is made possible by a magic stroke.
Golfer Matthew Fitzpatrick embraced his younger brother Alex after winning the US Open. Nine years before the greatest success of his career, the now 27-year-old Englishman had previously won the course at Brookline's Country Club outside of Boston. Back then as an amateur, his brother was the caddy - after a wafer-thin victory in front of Will Zalatoris and world number one Scottie Scheffler, he was one of the first to congratulate him. "The feeling is out of this world," said Fitzpatrick, who shed tears of joy during the first of many hugs. "It's such a cliché, but this is stuff you dream of as a kid. To have achieved that: I can retire tomorrow a happy man."
At his age, the Brit still has a few good years ahead of him - and has already secured a place in the sporting annual reviews of the USA. And probably those from England too. Because how he solved the tricky situation on the last hole, when the tee shot landed in the sand bunker and he apparently served Zalatoris the chance to catch up on a silver platter, also impressed the competition. "Matt's shot at 18 will probably show them to the end of US Open history," said Zalatoris. Fitzpatrick made it from the bunker onto the green. "One of the best shots I've ever hit," Fitzpatrick said.
He then missed an opportunity for a birdie on the green, giving Zalatoris another chance to level and force a playoff. But the 25-year-old American narrowly missed the hole with his putt from about four meters, crouched down, clasped his hands over his head and was defeated. For the third time in the past seven majors, one of the major golf tournaments ended in second place for him.
The Fitzpatricks family, on the other hand, shot up from their seats at that moment and, seconds later, ran happily onto the pitch. While Zalatoris has to wait, Matthew Fitzpatrick finally did it, not only claiming his first major win of his career, but his first ever as a pro in the United States. For the four rounds of the par-70 course outside of Boston, he needed a total of 274 strokes - one less than Zalatoris and Scheffler.
"It's something I've worked for so long, for so long," Fitzpatrick said at the awards ceremony. "To do that, my first win, a major - it doesn't get any better than that." Before him, only the great Jack Nicklaus had managed to win the amateur title (2013) and the US Open on the same golf course, and he was one of the first to congratulate him on the phone.