BROOKLINE, Mass. — For a guy who’s won seven times on the DP World Tour, Matt Fitzpatrick sure got an earful here in the United States.
Despite being a very accomplished player, contending often and playing in two Ryder Cups, Fitzpatrick frequently was asked about his lack of a victory on American soil.
Well, those questions have come to an end.
On some of the country’s most sacred footing in the sport, the Englishman outdueled Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler on a raw, overcast Sunday at The Country Club to win the 122nd U.S. Open.
After grabbing a share of the lead with a 50-foot birdie on the 13th hole and then gaining the lead with a 19-foot birdie on the 15th, Fitzpatrick was standing off to the side on the 18th as Zalatoris’ birdie effort from 14 feet that would have forced a playoff missed by a hair on the left side.
STAY UP-TO-DATE:Subscribe to our Sports newsletter now!
Welcome to the U.S. Open, Matt Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur here on the course Francis Ouimet made famous in 1913 with his stunning upset over Ted Ray and Harry Vardon. With his win Sunday, Fitzpatrick joined Jack Nicklaus (Pebble Beach) and Juli Inkster (Prairie Dunes) as the only players to win a U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open on the same course.
Fitzpatrick closed with a 2-under-par 68 to finish at 6 under. Zalatoris signed for a 69 and Scheffler a 67, as both wound up a 5 under.
It was another heartbreaking ending for Zalatoris, who lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas in the PGA Championship last month. He remains winless on the PGA Tour but is as confident as he’s ever been that a victory is coming.
Scheffler, who has won four times this year, including the Masters, held the lead late on the front nine but was again done in by the shortest hole on the golf course. After reaching 6 under, Scheffler bogeyed 10 after an errant drive and then three-putted the 11th (which was playing just 108 yards) for bogey. He made double on the 11th in the third round and followed with three consecutive bogeys.
Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama rushed home with the week’s best score, a 65, to finish at 3 under.
Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa damaged his chances for a third with a 77 Saturday but bounced back with his second 66 to end at 2 under.
“I hope many 7 overs aren’t coming in the future, but it just kind of made me refocus and kind of just get back into things,” Morikawa said. “Just really start from the tee, get it in the fairway, and then worry about it from there.”
Also finishing at 2 under was Rory McIlroy, who signed for a 69. The four-time major winner has now played 29 majors without winning his fifth.
“Another top five in a major. I guess doesn’t really mean anything,” McIlroy said. “The game’s there. The game’s there. I’ve got one more start next week in Hartford before I go to the Open Championship.
“I’ll get two weeks of good rest before the Open and play some links golf and prepare and look forward to that. Again, my game’s in good shape. I’ve got one more chance this year to try to get that major.”
Follow Steve DiMeglio on Twitter @Steve_DiMeglio.