BROOKLINE, Mass. — Matt Fitzpatrick is the King of the Country Club.
It was only fitting that a historic run known for its spectacular finishes at majors would once again host a thrilling conclusion on Sunday when the 27-year-old Englishman won the 2022 US Open in a single stroke.
Fitzpatrick led Will Zatoris with one shot on the 18th hole. After hitting his tee shot into the bunker to the left of the fairway, Fitzpatrick went all out and executed a perfect approach shot that hit the green.
A safe calm par with two putts. Zalatoris’ potential birdie putt just missed, giving Fitzpatrick his first major championship with a 6-under score.
The last time Fitzpatrick played at Brookline Country Club, he won the 2013 US Amateur Tournament. He is one of only two golfers to have won the US Amateur and the US Open on the same course. The other is the legendary Jack Nicklaus, who accomplished the feat at Pebble Beach.
“This week around the Country Club, I’ve already won here. I love playing on this golf course,” Fitzpatrick said. “It suits me so well. It suits my game well. I’ve been playing well for a while and I think everything has fallen into place for that to happen here.”
Nicklaus called Fitzpatrick at the trophy presentation to congratulate him. It was a pretty cool moment for the new US Open champion.
“Any time you share a record with Jack Nicklaus, it’s amazing,” Fitzpatrick said. “So for me, it’s amazing to have that too. He called me there just at the presentation to congratulate me. Coming from someone like that, it means the world.”
Fitzpatrick said on Saturday his experience winning at this course in 2013 would help him finish the job on Sunday. It turned out he was right.
“I definitely think it gives me an edge over the others, yeah,” Fitzpatrick said after his third round. “I sincerely believe that. It’s obviously a positive moment in my career. It kind of gave me a boost. To come back here and play so well again, it kind of gives me a growing confidence round by round.”
He certainly looked like a confident guy throughout the final round, even when adversity hit.
Fitzpatrick faced a crucial moment after the 11th hole. Zalatoris had just birdied the hole to go 6 under. Fitzpatrick bogeyed to fall two shots behind. But he didn’t bogey another hole. Birdies at the 13th and 15th holes pushed it back to 6 under, which was enough to outlast Zalatoris, whose bogeys at the No. 12 and No. 15 proved costly.
Fitzpatrick admitted there was doubt after the bogey on the No.11 but the confidence remained.
“Yeah, sure, there’s a bit (of doubt). You know, there’s seven, eight holes left,” Fitzpatrick said. “You still have a lot of time, but you’d rather be two clear than two behind obviously. I think for me, like I just felt like I could keep hitting the greens and giving myself putts, my putt would take the on it and I would bring in a few, and luckily I did. Yeah, it worked out well.
The Country Club has a rich history of incredible times and golfers who have made a name for themselves on these courses. Francis Ouimet’s astonishing victory at the 1913 US Open and the United States’ epic return to the 1999 Ryder Cup stand out from the rest.
Fitzpatrick isn’t quite in this territory, but he’s the only golfer to win multiple majors at this course in its 140-year history. It will make him a legend at Brookline forever.
“I got into position after two rounds and played well yesterday. I really thought now might be the time,” Fitzpatrick said. “Yeah, for some reason, because of my success here before, I felt like now was the time.”
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