US Open leader Matt Fitzpatrick says US Amateur win at Brookline in 2013 is helping this week

Matt Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick has yet to win on the PGA Tour but won the US Amateur title on this course in 2013
-4 W Zalatoris (USA), M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -3 J Rahm (Spa); -2 K Bradley (USA), A Hadwin (Can), S Scheffler (USA); -1 S Burns (USA), R McIlroy (NI); J Dahmen (USA)
Others selected: +1 G Woodland (USA), S Power (Ireland), A Wise (USA); +2 D Johnson (USA), C Morikawa (USA); +3 J Spieth (USA), J Thomas (USA)

Matt Fitzpatrick says winning the US Amateur at Brookline in 2013 will give him “an edge” when he pursues his first major at the Boston course on Sunday.

The Englishman shares the US Open lead after a two-under 68 in the third round tied him with American Will Zalatoris on four-under.

He would become the first non-American to win both titles in the event of a triumph.

“To come back here and play so well again, it gives me increasing confidence round after round,” said Fitzpatrick, 27.

“I definitely think it gives me an edge over others. I sincerely believe that. It was a really positive moment in my career, it gave me a boost.”

Only nine players are under par going into Sunday’s final round and only six shots separate the top 24 from the field.

Defending champion Jon Rahm, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and this year’s Masters winner and world number one Scottie Scheffler are among the big names in contention.

Fitzpatrick will play alongside Zalatoris at 7.45pm BST and the BBC Sport website will broadcast live radio and text from the final round from 7.00pm.

“People think it’s easier to win a major than it is”

The Sheffield-born golfer has seven victories on the Europe-based DP World Tour, including wins at the season-ending big-money DP World Tour Championship in 2016 and 2020.

However, he only recorded two top 10 finishes at major tournaments, at the 2016 Masters and the US PGA Championship last month in Southern Hills, Tulsa.

He was part of the last team with Chilean Mito Pereira in the fourth round, but tied for fifth as Justin Thomas beat Zalatoris in a play-off.

“Until Southern Hills, I didn’t realize how difficult it was to win a major tournament,” Fitzpatrick admitted.

“I haven’t really challenged so far.

“People think it’s easier than it is – Tiger [Woods] knocked off so many in such a short time that I think that’s why people think it’s a piece of cake.

“But it’s not. It brings a lot more to the mental side of the game than other events.

“These last two majors, I feel so much more comfortable. My game has changed and I have a lot more chances than I’ve ever had in my career.”

Become a big hitter to land the big prizes

Fitzpatrick hasn’t been recognized as one of the sport’s greatest hitters, but has worked hard on that aspect of his game, as evidenced by his two-strike on the green on the 622-yard 15th hole.

“I think it’s been a big, big thing this week, and certainly the last few weeks really, just to notice that I’m playing with other guys and being able to get past them on a regular basis,” he said. .

“That was really the big thing holding me back. The putter was good. The short game was good. The approach game was good but my drive, I was straight but I just didn’t have that distance to enjoy everything else.

“Now I feel like I’ve done one more. Rather than just keeping pace, I’ve passed the guys. It just gives me a much bigger chance to compete week after week.”

Justin Rose was the last Englishman to win the US Open, at Merion in 2013, while Danny Willett was the last to win a major tournament.

Fitzpatrick finished seventh at that Masters in 2016 and he says his career would seem “incomplete” if he didn’t win one of the sport’s biggest prizes.

“They mean more. Everyone remembers major tournaments and who wins them and when they are won,” he added.

“These are the ones that mean something. That’s what everyone is striving to achieve.

“Would my career be incomplete if I didn’t? Of course, yes, I would be disappointed if I didn’t. Really disappointed.”

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