Fitzpatrick caps memorable year with U.S. Am win

Matthew Fitzpatrick proudly holds the Havemeyer Trophy after defeating Oliver Goss, 4 and 3, at the 2013 U. S. Amateur at The Country Club.

BROOKLINE, Mass. – Almost a year to the date, Matthew Fitzpatrick won the British Boys Championship, and he said his life changed forever.

On Sunday, Fitzpatrick won the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club with a 4-and-3 victory over Oliver Goss of Australia, and his world changed again.

Fitzpatrick, 18, became just the second Englishman to win the championship, more than a century after Harold Hilton claimed it in 1911.

“Certainly happy, that's for sure,” said Fitzpatrick, who will head to Northwestern in the fall. “Very, very happy. Really pleased with the way I played. Hung in there when I needed to and sort of pulled it out when I needed to.”

With this victory, Fitzpatrick moves to No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and becomes the first Englishman to win the Mark H. McCormack Medal.

“It’s going to be weird waking up tomorrow morning,” he said.

He is now exempt into the 2014 Masters, U.S. Open at Pinehurst and The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Fitzpatrick was in the lead after the morning 18 holes, 1 up, after carding four birdies to Goss’ two.

“Matt played really well,” Goss said. “It’s probably the best display of putting I’ve ever seen in term of difficulty of putt and meaning of putt, as in like pressure.”

When Fitzpatrick and Goss returned from lunch for the start of the second 18, Fitzpatrick lost the 19th hole after three-putting for the third time on the day.

There was only one point in the match when Fitzpatrick trailed for more than one hole, and that was in the morning 18 holes.

The 19-year-old Goss, whose short game let him down most of the day, lost the 20th and 21st holes after failing to get up-and-down from around the green.

“Some of the lies I had today were just so brutal,” Goss said. "The lies are just absolutely horrendous.”

There were no birdies made in the afternoon. All holes were won with pars, though Goss had his opportunities to get back into the match.

He had a good chance at birdie on the 24th hole from 20 feet away, below the cup, but it died at the cup. Goss, a sophomore at Tennessee, also had a chance on the 31st hole to go 1 up with five holes remaining, but nothing would give.

Certainly not Fitzpatrick.

The English teen made an 8-foot par putt on the 33rd hole. Moments later, Goss ran his par attempt past the cup.

Fitzpatrick played only 110 holes in six matches on the week at the 7,217-yard layout.

Fitzpatrick – or 'Fitzy,' as was heard in Brookline on Sunday – drew comparisons by fans to Francis Ouimet, with Fitzpatrick's brother/caddie Alex playing the role of caddie Eddie Lowery. It is the 100th anniversary of Ouimet's improbable U.S. Open victory at The Country Club.

Fitzpatrick, the low amateur at this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield, is now a lock for the GB&I team for the Walker Cup in September at National Golf Links.

“It is pretty much the highest thing that you can do," he said. "That's what I believe, anyway. The history of that and just like this and the British Amateur, it's just a fantastic event. I'm really looking forward to it, if I get picked.”

This life-changing experience of winning the U.S. Amateur will make a bit more of an impact than his big junior victory.

And it’s going to start a lot sooner than he thinks.

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