The world’s second-highest golfer without a career PGA Tour win finally won a Sunday while also breaking through to golf’s major league with his first major championship. Matt Fitzpatrick won the 2022 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts on Sunday with two birdies and no bogeys over the final seven holes to win the tournament by 6 under.
Fitzpatrick, 27, edged out his 54-hole co-leader Will Zalatoris and 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler by one shot to lift the trophy.
Having previously won the US Amateur at The Country Club in 2013, Fitzpatrick increased his USGA total in dramatic fashion with a win at the 122nd US Open. In doing so, he joined Jack Nicklaus and Julie Inkster as the only player to win both championships at the same venue, cementing his place in the annals of golf history.
Fitzpatrick, number 18 in the official world golf rankings, broke through on Sunday after an already strong season in major championships. The Englishman previously finished T14 at the Masters in April and T5 at the PGA Championship last month.
Still, it hadn’t been an easy road for Fitzpatrick up to this point, and his last lap at the country club summed it up perfectly. Whether he would admit it or not, doubts had to creep in as he missed opportunities to win events over the years.
Fitzpatrick, a player who has always found success due to his mix of accuracy and putting skills, came in 2022 as a completely converted player. That was evident this week when the name of the game for Fitzpatrick was consistency. While others were eliminated with remarkably low rounds early in the tournament, on Friday he shot 2 under over the first 36 holes with a steady par 70 before hitting a second 68 on moving day to take the co-lead.
Fitzpatrick was up and down the front nine on Sunday and two bogeys to start the backs made it look like he was once again sitting on the outside of a trophy presentation.
A short miss on the par 10th 4 was followed by an inexplicable three-putt on the short par 11th 3. A quick three-point swing with Zatoris breathing down his neck could have staggered Fitzpatrick. A career full of narrow challenges could have added another, but instead of withering, Fitzpatrick began to flourish.
An emphatic birdie on the par-4 13th put Fitzpatrick back in part of the lead with Zatoris on 5. Two holes later, after missing the fairway, Fitzpatrick hit one of the best iron shots of the day to create a birdie look on the long par 4 15. With Zatoris due to bogey, Fitzpatrick went in his third and briefly took over a two-stroke lead.
Although Zatoris and Scheffler both pulled within one after scoring birdies on the stretch, Fitzpatrick never let up.
After trading with Zatoris on the accessible par 17, Fitzpatrick went to the 72nd hole with an impact edge and made the only mistake you couldn’t make when he found the fairway bunker off the tee. He took it by the chin and followed the miscue with a career-defining hit to the green that established his US Open win. Fitzpatrick missed an 18-foot birdie putt to earn the win, but Zatoris missed a similar 14-foot putt by a hair’s breadth as Fitzpatrick notched his third 68 of the tournament and his first PGA Tour win.
The US Open is often and rightly called “golf’s most difficult test”. Most believe it is because of the conditions. They certainly play a role, but far exceed the mental challenge that the USGA sets out to do. Competing in the US Open is truly a rollercoaster of emotions and one tiny misstep can spell ultimate doom.
Fitzpatrick had his fair share of errors on Sunday, but he took the punches like a champ. In doing so, he shed the moniker he had saddled for so long, silenced his doubters, and reigned at the pinnacle of the sport with the national championship trophy.
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