It’s total happiness for the Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick who, at 27, won his first major title by winning the US Open in a big way, Sunday, on the fairways of the famous Brookline course, in Massachusetts. Thanks to a treacherous bunker exit of about 150 yards on the last hole, Fitzpatrick only needed a par to beat Americans Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris with a shot at the finish line. Both players narrowly missed their putts at 18e green that would have forced an overtime.
It can be said that the leaders of the USGA achieved their goals at this grand event. First, they presented an excellent test of golf, difficult and honest at the same time. They also identified the current best golfer in Fitzpatrick, who hit 17 of 18 greens in prescribed strokes in the final round. We all knew the young Englishman was a talented player; apart from his United States amateur championship acquired in 2013 on the Brookline course, he has also won seven times on the European circuit in addition to playing in the Ryder Cup on two occasions. We knew that sooner or later, he was going to win on the PGA Tour circuit. We can say that he chose the right moment to break the ice.
As soon as he arrived on the number 1 tee on Sunday, Fitzpatrick showed an unshakable confidence that was quickly confirmed following his first swing. His coordination was near perfection this past round and the execution was on point with virtually every shot, unlike the rather scrappy game he showed us in the final round of the PGA Championship last month. We will especially remember the putt from about fifty feet that he stalled at 13e hole, the 225-yard super shot iron that he placed 20 feet from the hole at 15e and, of course, the masterful blow of the fairway bunker at 18e hole. This last blow will undoubtedly be part of the annals of the US Open for a very long time. Thanks to this victory, Fitzpatrick is now ranked 10e world player.
Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris also deserved to win, but luck was not on the cards this time around. When you lose with a single blow, you still have to be satisfied. It was already the third time that the young Zalatoris finished second in a major tournament, he who boasts an impressive record of six top-10 finishes in nine occasions. No doubt his turn will come because he is an exceptional player who is still improving. As for Scheffler, he was equal to himself with a solid 67 on the last course. Already a four-time winner this season, he boosted his purse winnings to nearly $13 million and will no doubt set a new record in this regard by the end of the year.
Rory McIlroy, winner of the Canadian Open last week, also did well with a fifth place finish despite four bogeys in the final round. The best round of the tournament belongs to Hideki Matsuyama who brought home a 65 card on Sunday. This performance allowed him to climb alone to fourth place. I would also like to highlight the excellent performance of Canadian Adam Hadwin who finished with a respectable seventh position. He held his own on a most demanding course.
It was, all in all, a top quality show and a very good competition during which all aspects of the game were tested to the maximum. That’s a US Open, the ultimate test from every point of view!