Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick held his nerve to land a first Major title at the US Open on Sunday, as he claimed a one-shot victory at The Country Club, Brookline.
The Sheffield-born star went into the final round in a share of the lead alongside American Will Zalatoris, who was also chasing his first Major title, while the likes of world number one Scottie Scheffler, defending champion Jon Rahm and a certain Rory McIlroy all started the day within striking distance.
It was Fitzpatrick who prevailed, however, with the 27-year-old carding a 68 to finish on six-under-par, one ahead of Zalatoris and Scheffler, with a superb fairway bunker shot on the 18th underlining his credentials as the world’s newest Major champion.
Fitzpatrick (20/1 Open – Outright) is just the third Englishman to win the US Open in the modern era, following in the footsteps of Tony Jacklin (1970) and Justin Rose (2013), while he becomes only the second player after Jack Nicklaus to have claimed the title and the US Amateur Championship at the same venue – having won the latter tournament as a teenager at Brookline back in 2013.
The victory has also seen Fitzpatrick move into the top 10 of the world rankings for the very first time and. with the 150th Open Championship just around the corner at St Andrew’s, the world appears to be at the feet of the delighted Yorkshireman (Fitzpatrick 8/1 – SPOTY 2022 – Outright).
“It’s what you grow up dreaming of,” Fitzpatrick told reporters. “It’s something I’ve worked so hard for for such a long time. I’ve got to give myself credit: I had so much patience.”
For Zalatoris (20/1 Open – Outright) it was another near miss on the big stage – the 25-year-old now has three runner-up finishes to his name in Majors since bursting on to the scene at last year’s Masters, while Scheffler (12/1 Open – Outright), who won the Green Jacket at Augusta in April, must wait to add to his Major collection.
It is also another Major championship that has passed world number two McIlroy by, with the 33-year-old’s last success in one of the big-four events coming at the 2014 US PGA Championship.
McIlroy (10/1 Open – Outright) signed for a score of 69 on Sunday to finish in a tie for fifth on two-under and, despite being disappointed not to end his near decade-long wait for a fifth Major title, he believes his game is trending in the right direction ahead of next month’s Open.
“I’ll look back at this as another missed opportunity just as Southern Hills was, but missed opportunities are better than not contending at all,” said McIlroy.
“So that is a positive. I have to stay patient at this point because if I just keep putting myself in position, sooner or later it’s going to be my day and I’m going to get one.”