Despite being at Brookline all week, Alex Fitzpatrick, who played for Wake Forest before turning pro – he will play the Irish Open in two weeks – returned home on Saturday. Alas, by the time he landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, and drove 90 minutes to his off-campus pad, the big brother had risen to the top of the leaderboard, tied with Zalatoris.
Determined not to miss the moment, Alex woke up at 5 a.m. Sunday morning and flew to Boston.
“There are two ways of looking at it, really,” he said, when asked if there was anything fatal about Matt Fitzpatrick and the Country Club. “At the start of the week people were expecting him to come out and win because of what happened in 2013. You can take it as pressure, who knows how it’s going to be, but he stayed calm and had a good game plan.
“I didn’t think I was going to cry, but I ended up crying,” he added. “It’s going to look bad on TV. I’ve been saying for a long time that he deserves one more than any I can think of. If I showed you how hard he works and the things he does to improve, it would honestly blow your mind. I suppose there are golf gods out there, but for it to happen here is very special.
The final hurdle for Fitzpatrick, after entering the fairway bunker on the 18th, was clearing the lip that had thwarted Jon Rahm the day before. He pulled out a 9-iron and caught the ball flush, clearing the lip and bombarding the green for a par two-putt.
Fitzpatrick still looks like a kid i.e. he doesn’t look that different from the player who won here in 2013 except for the logos and maybe a few extra pounds . If you’re a certain type of rosy-eyed dreamer, you can always squint at Matt and Alex and see Ouimet and his own caddy, Eddie Lowery, in 1913. But that’s definitely not how Matt Fitzpatrick would explain this week. .
He charted all those shots, teeed off after watching other courses club into submission, and learned from his appearance in the last group on Sunday at the PGA Championship last month, when he finished tied for fifth.
Making the Country Club feel like home was the final piece of the puzzle. Same city. Same course. Same room.
“Know where to knock; know where to miss it,” he said. “Yeah, just happy to be undefeated in this place.”