Matt Fitzpatrick Wins US Open After Tense Battle At Brookline.. The young ones gave a battle for the ages. Only one could win. And, as Matt Fitzpatrick tread on favoured terrain, it was the 27-year-old Englishman who added the US Open to his trophy cabinet with a display of shot-making and mental fortitude to outduel Will Zalatoris by the narrowest of margins in his 122nd edition of the championship.
Fitzpatrick — who won the US Amateur title at Brookline nine years ago — shot a final round 68 for a total of six-under-par 274, one stroke clear of Zalatoris, denied again in his quest for a major following his play-off loss in the US PGA last month, and Scottie Scheffler.
For the two Irish players left, it proved to be both frustrating and yet encouraging: Rory McIlroy finished tied-fifth after closing with a 69 for 278, and Séamus Power — in his first US Open — continued his strong form in the majors with a 70 for 281 that left him in tied-12th.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 19, 2022
Zalatoris had a 15-footer on the 18th hole to force a playoff but watched the putt graze the cup, and bent with his hands held to his head after being left as the vanquished yet again.
It was so different for Fitzpatrick, who was mobbed by family members — among them brother Alex, who has turned professional and will play in the upcoming Horizon Irish Open — and friends, with McIlroy among those venturing on to the 18th to extend his congratulations.
And there was a poignant moment too for Fitzpatrick’s veteran caddie Billy Foster who, finally, got to carry a winner’s back home in a major.
The back nine provided its share of drama, with Zalatoris moving two shots clear on the Par 3 11th where he birdied and Fitzpatrick bogeyed.
But the weight of leading hit fast and hard, as Zalatoris leaked his drive right on the 12th to bogey and see his lead reduced to one. The big swing came on the 15th where Fitzpatrick’s birdie to Zalatoris’s bogey saw the pair change roles … and, to Fitzpatrick’s credit, he parred his way in to close the deal.
McIlroy endured a rollercoaster ride, especially on the front nine where he had three birdies and three bogeys in a case of going one step forward only to back track back with every move: ”
“I needed to shoot a 65 or a 66 to get the job done today, and I just wasn’t quite on it enough to do that. I still feel like I played well and shot a solid round of golf, but just not quite good enough to contend … 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. 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,” said McIlroy, who is playing this week’s Travelers championship on the PGA Tour which will be his last outing — apart from the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am — ahead of the 150th Open at St Andrews next month.
He added: “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.”