Fitzpatrick joins Jones in exclusive company
PINEHURST, N.C. – Matthew Fitzpatrick played a practice round with Rory McIlroy, followed by official rounds with Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose, then capped his 72 holes with Louis Oosthuizen.
Not too shabby for a 19-year-old on the eve of his professional debut.
But maybe the most impressive name he is now associated with is perhaps the greatest amateur golfer to ever live: Bobby Jones.
Fitzpatrick became the first amateur golfer since Jones in 1930 to simultaneously hold the low-amateur honors at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
"My aim was to win the low amateur, and to achieve it is pretty pleasing," Fitzpatrick said after finishing a 1-under 69 that left him 11 over for the tournament.
As the only amateur to make the cut this week, there was no race for the awards ceremony later Sunday, but Fitzpatrick was trying to gain a bit of on-course momentum before playing in the Irish Open on Thursday.
"I think if I would have missed the cut by a mile, I think it's always a tough one to then go to my first pro event and sort of not playing very well, and I think four rounds of competitive golf is always a positive," said Fitzpatrick. "So, yeah, I think it's sort of a nice. I said warm-up, I think the other day, about the U.S. Open, even though it's not quite a warm-up, but it's a similar sort of thing."
Fitzpatrick's statistical breakdown for the week showed off his strengths: finding fairways and hitting greens.
He hit 45 of 56 fairways, good for 80 percent and nearly 10 percent better than the field average. He also hit 46 of 72 greens, which is 64 percent and about 8 percent better than the average. His putting was solid – especially Sunday with only 29 putts – finishing right at the field average.
"The difference was I just holed some putts (Sunday). That's what I've not done all week and I wouldn't say it's cost me, but I feel like I could have done better maybe if I would have holed a few more," Fitzpatrick lamented.
The Englishman has already lined up six of his seven exemptions overseas.