Aug 18, 2013
BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Matt Fitzpatrick (Sheffield, England/Tapton) will arrive in Evanston next month with a little extra baggage: The USGA's Havemeyer Trophy. The incoming Northwestern freshman defeated Australian Oliver Goss, 4 and 3, to win the 113th United States Amateur Championship Sunday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Fitzpatrick is the second Englishman to ever win the U.S. Amateur and is the first in 102 years, following in Harold Hilton's footsteps from 1911. His is the latest in a much more recent run of strong Northwestern play in the Championship, joining Dillon Dougherty's runner-up finish in 2005 and Luke Donald's semifinal appearance in 2000.
"It's great to go down in history, it's what everyone wants to achieve," said Fitzpatrick.
With the victory, Fitzpatrick receives a return trip to the British Open in 2014 after earning the Silver Medal earlier this summer as the low amateur at Muirfield. With his berth in Sunday's final, he already earned tee times at Pinehurst for the 2014 U.S. Open and Augusta National for the 2014 Masters Tournament. He also is exempt into the next 10 U.S. Amateur Championships.
In addition to winning the USGA's Gold Medal and the Havemeyer Trophy, Fitzpatrick also will arrive in Evanston as the No. 1 ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. On Monday, it was announced that Fitzpatrick would headline the Great Britain and Ireland Team at the 2013 Walker Cup to be played Sept. 7-8 at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.
Fitzpatrick advanced to the match play portion of the Championship via a T3 finish during medal play, then "Mr. 4 and 3" worked his way through the 64-man bracket with four-straight 4 and 3 victories before extending to the 17th hole for a 2 and 1 win in the semifinals.
Fitzpatrick had his younger brother, 14-year-old Alex, on the bag for the entire Championship, drawing comparisons to Brookline, Mass., native Francis Ouimet, who famously won the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club with 10-year-old Eddie Lowery as his caddie.
Fitzpatrick and Goss exchanged blows like heavyweight fighters in the first round of the 36-hole title bout, halving just seven total holes while neither player let his opponent build more than a 1-up lead at any point. In one stretch of four-consecutive holes on the front nine, both Fitzpatrick and Goss won two each with birdies.
After hitting just five greens in regulation and dazzling with his short game in Saturday's semifinal win, Fitzpatrick hit the first four greens in Sunday's final. His short game would be on display soon enough, however. Fitzpatrick won the par-3 seventh with a 35-foot birdie bomb that prompted Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner to tweet "Have I mentioned that he can putt...like, *really* putt?" Then, on the long par-5 12th, Fitzpatrick took a 1-up lead with another winding birdie that led to Northwestern head coach Pat Goss tweeting "His putting is borderline unbelievable."
The morning session came to a thrilling conclusion on the 18th when Fitzpatrick drained a 25-foot downhill putt to save par before his opponent chipped in from the collar to halve the hole and keep the Wildcat's lead at just 1-up.
That edge evaporated on the first hole of the second round when Fitzpatrick made his uncharacteristic third three-putt of the day, but he quickly regained the advantage and then some with wins at Nos. 2 and 3 to earn the first 2-up margin of the match. After the competitors halved the next five holes, Goss got up and down for par on the 505-yard ninth to slice the Wildcat's lead in half entering the final nine.
A par on No. 10 to begin the final homeward nine again gave Fitzpatrick at 2-up edge. With the cushion, Fitzgerald put incredible pressure on Goss by finding the center cut of the fairway with nearly every tee shot on the back nine. He drained a testy par putt on No. 14 to move to 3-up with four to play, then got up-and-down from in front of the 15th green by sliding his par putt in the left edge of the cup. When Goss missed his par effort, Fitzpatrick stood alone among 312 entrants as the United States Amateur Champion of 2013.
Northwestern head coach Pat Goss, assistant coach David Inglis and current senior and reigning Windon Memorial champion John Callahan (Hinsdale, Ill./Benet Academy) were among the gallery at the final.
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