What an unflappable round by Matty Fitz. That fairway bunker shot on 18 was absolute nails. Such a microcosm of his entire week. The US Open is known for bringing golf greats to their knees and the guy barely blinked the entire week. Big names seem to come and go from the front page of the leaderboard the entire week, but the one guy that seemed to stick there the entire time was Fitzpatrick. He just outlasted everybody and that's why he's holding the trophy at the end of the weekend.
You know you're gonna make bogeys in tough tournaments like these. It's all about avoiding doubles and worse, and Fitz did that across 72 holes. Know the best way to avoid doubles? Hit greens. He was 9th in the field in greens regulation for the week and hit 17 of 18 in the final round. That's INSANE in a US Open setup.
There were a handful of highlights that proved to be the difference on Sunday for him. One, hitting the Par 4 5th green off the tee was something none of the other guys in contention were able to do. That made for a stress-free birdie that earned him a stroke against most of those guys.
The second was him burying an absolute BOMB on 13 from a spot where anyone offered the 2-putt would take it and run
And lastly was the birdie he made on 15 from a mile right off the fairway. He hoisted an iron from 224 out in the rough and sank this putt to take a commanding 2-shot lead.
Now… I want to talk about that 15th hole for a second. Fitz blocked his tee shot off the grid into the right rough, so far right that it was in the trampled down rough at the back of the gallery. It was a great break to get a lie he could get a club onto cleanly, and it paid huge dividends for him. Golf is a game involving tons of good breaks and bad breaks, and across 72 holes they often even out. It just felt wrong in that given moment that Zalatoris hit a tee shot that missed the fairway by a few yards and his ball buried in the rough and Fitz was 40 yards further right and wasn't penalized for it. On the back 9 in a major, that doesn't really sit right with me. Zalatoris chopped his ball out short and left into a greenside bunker and made bogey, and Fitzpatrick took advantage and made his birdie. Huge 2-shot swing that obviously was the difference in the tournament. I don't really have a solution for it and it is what it is. Just gotta chalk it up to this silly sport we all love.
Regardless, you gotta feel sick for Zalatoris. Still managed to give himself a good look at birdie to force a playoff, much like he did at the PGA. He came up huge in that moment at Southern Hills and hit a really good putt today in the same spot, this one just missed by a ball outside left.
None of that even mentions the effort Scheffler put out there today. He had a very similar putt to Zalatoris' and missed by just about the same margin. Game of inches like you read about. Those 3 created an incredible back 9 full of drama and big moments that we'll remember for a long time.
Lastly, a major kudos to The Country Club. Great test of golf where only 9 guys finished in red figures. It was just about as fair a setup as you could imagine too. Crowds were great, Sunday was competitive as hell, and Fitzpatrick came up huge when it mattered most. And… virtually no mention of LIV Golf all day today. Love that today was about golf, as it should've been.
Congrats to Matt Fitzpatrick and congrats to the USGA on putting on a phenomenal tournament. .
PS: You're welcome to everyone who tailed me on Fitzpatrick +2200 this week. Nbd but kbd… make sure you keep reading those previews for winners (pageviews pageviews pageviews)