U.S. Am champ Fitzpatrick to turn pro after U.S. Open

U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick will turn pro and make his debut at the Irish Open June 19-22.
U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick will turn pro and make his debut at the Irish Open June 19-22. ( Mark Newcombe / www.visionsingolf.com )

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Chubby Chandler says Matthew Fitzpatrick has the sort of game to have a chance of getting his European Tour card from seven starts this season.

The reigning U.S. Amateur champion has signed with Chandler's ISM stable. The 19-year-old will turn pro after the U.S. Open and make his pro debut at the European Tour’s Irish Open a week later.

The former No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, now second to Patrick Rodgers, was highly sought after by different management companies but opted for Chandler’s stable.

“I chose ISM because I was impressed with how much they wanted to manage me,” Fitzpatrick said. “I had options, but eventually it came down to ISM. They have a proven track record of guiding the careers of young golfers and moulding major champions. I am in good hands.”

“Tidy” is the word Chandler uses to describe Fitzpatrick’s game.

“To win the silver medal at The Open and win the U.S. Amateur on two different courses proves he’s pretty mature for his age,” Chandler said.

“He’s not got the biggest game but he’s certainly got a very mature game for 19. Tidy is a great word to describe him.

“Certain courses will suit him and certain ones won’t. We made a conscious decision not to go over to the United States because there are quite a few bombers' courses and he’s not suited to that.”

Chandler, manager to Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke among many others, will pinpoint tournaments on courses he feels suit Fitzpatrick’s game.

The Englishman finished T-23 at the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament a week after missing the cut by a shot in the Masters. Chandler says courses such as Harbour Town Golf Links will suit Fitzpatrick as he tries to earn a European Tour card from his seven invites.

“You have to look at courses like Le Golf National in Paris (French Open), Crans-sur-Sierre (Omega European Masters). He’s not one-dimensional and when he grows a bit and gets stronger they will all suit him. But we need to pinpoint courses that suit him now.”

Chandler hasn’t confirmed which European Tour invites Fitzpatrick will get, but he’s confident he’ll get the seven allowed. “I don’t want to say for sure but I’m pretty sure he’ll get seven tournaments on the main tour.”

Among the events Chandler is looking at are the Czech Open, Omega European Masters, KLM Open, Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Scottish Open. Fitzpatrick already had a start into the Scottish as U.S. Amateur Champion, but it was contingent on staying amateur. Chandler is hoping he’ll still get an invite.

The Sheffield native gives up an exemption into this year’s Open Championship, part of the reward for winning last year’s U.S. Amateur. That exemption was also contingent on staying amateur. He will try to qualify to play at Royal Liverpool as a professional.

Fitzpatrick will also play European Challenge Tour events to try to get his card that way too. The top 15 on the Challenge Tour money list qualify for next year’s European Tour.

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