Matt Fitzpatrick of England stepped up in spectacular fashion on Sunday to win his first major championship as he took the US Open by one shot with a closing two-under-par 68 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
His ball-striking exhibition gave him victory over Will Zalatoris and world number one Scottie Scheffler, with Hideki Matsuyama in fourth after a closing five-under 65. Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa.
The 27-year-old Fitzpatrick, who triumphed nine years ago at the same venue when he claimed the US Amateur, became just the 13th man and the first non-American to also add the US Open Championship to his portfolio. Fitzpatrick joined 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to have won the USGA’s two oldest championships at the same venue. Nicklaus accomplished his feat at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 1961 and 1972.
During a final round where it looked as if just about any of the eventual top six finishers could have won, Fitzpatrick absorbed all the pressure and hit 17 of 18 greens, giving himself more opportunities than any of his rivals. And then he converted some critical opportunities, most notably on 13 when he made a 50-footer for birdie to kickstart his push for home. Another birdie on 15 put him two shots clear down the stretch, and, despite enormous pressure from Zalatoris, in particular, he never wavered.
Perhaps the shot of the tournament – perhaps even of the year – came when he pulled his three-wood off the 18th tee into a fairway bunker, and then lasered a tough approach out of the sand to inside 20 feet. “It was one of the best shots I hit all day,” said Fitzpatrick. “To do that and take advantage of the break I had was fantastic.”
The win took him inside the world’s top 10 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Further down the leaderboard, South Africa’s MJ Daffue rounded out his first major championship with a closing one-under-par 69 to finish in a share of 31st. That took him inside the world’s top 250 at 249th, after starting the year at 897th. There’s more to come from him, too.