Monday, July 4, 2022

2022 US Open leaderboard, winner: Matt Fitzpatrick breaks through for first major championship, PGA Tour win

The world’s second-highest-ranked golfer without a PGA Tour win in his career finally claimed a Sunday, simultaneously breaking golf’s upper field with his first major championship. Matt Fitzpatrick won the 2022 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts on Sunday with two birdies and no bogeys in the final seven holes, winning the tournament at 6-under.

Fitzpatrick, 27, beat his 54-hole co-leader Will Zalatoris and 2022 Masters champion Scotty Scheffler by one stroke to hoist the trophy.

Having previously won the 2013 US Amateur at The Country Club, Fitzpatrick added dramatic fashion to his USGA total with a win at the 122nd US Open. In doing so, he joined Jack Nicklaus and Julie Inkster as the only player to win two championships at the same place, cementing his place in the annals of golf history.

18 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Fitzpatrick broke through on Sunday after an already strong season at major championships. The Englishman had earlier completed T14 at the Masters in April and T5 at the PGA Championship last month.

Still, it wasn’t an easy road for Fitzpatrick up to this point, and his final round at The Country Club was a perfect encapsulation of it. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, doubts had to be cast as he missed out on his chances to win events over the years.

A player who had always been endowed with his mix of accuracy and skill, Fitzpatrick came in as a complete throwback player in 2022. It was clear this week as the name of the game for Fitzpatrick was consistency. While others went out with notably fewer rounds early in the tournament, they shot 2 in the first 36 holes with a 70 on Friday before posting a second 68 on moving day to take the co-lead.

Fitzpatrick was up and down the front nine Sundays, and two bogeys to start the back made it appear as if he would once again sit outside the trophy presentation.

The short par-3 on the 11th was an inexplicable three-putt after a short miss on the par-4 10th. A rapid three-stroke swing with Zalatoris breathing down the neck could have had Fitzpatrick reeling. A career full of close calls could have added another, but instead of withered, Fitzpatrick flourished.

A vigorous birdie on the par-4 13th put Fitzpatrick back in part of the lead with Zalatoris at 5 under. Two holes later, after missing the fairway, Fitzpatrick hit one of the best iron shots of the day to set up a birdie look on the long par-4 15th. With Zalatoris for the bogey, Fitzpatrick went into his third and momentarily took a two-stroke lead.

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Although both Zalatoris and Schaeffler pulled within one after converting a birdie to a stretch, Fitzpatrick never gave up.

After being traded with Zalatoris in 17th, Fitzpatrick went into the 72nd hole with a one-stroke edge and made the only error you couldn’t make when he got the fairway bunker off the tee. After miscutting with a career-defining shot on the green, he took it to the chin, which set up his US Open victory. Fitzpatrick missed an 18-foot birdie putt to take the win, but Zalatoris missed a 14-foot identical putt by hair as Fitzpatrick registered his third 68 of the tournament and his first PGA Tour win.

“If there was one shot I’ve struggled with this year that I don’t want, it’s a fairway bunker shot,” Fitzpatrick said of his approach in the 72nd hole. “I think [caddie] billy [Foster] Took the bus This is one of the best shots I’ve hit so far. When I saw it leaving sand and felt the strike, I couldn’t be happier.”

The US Open is often described as “the toughest test in golf”. Most believe that this can happen due to circumstances. They certainly play a role, but the mental challenge set by the USGA is much more than that. Competing at the US Open is truly a rollercoaster of emotions, and one small mistake can be someone’s ultimate downfall.

Fitzpatrick has had his fair share of miscalculations on Sunday, but he punches like a champion. In the process, he dropped the moniker he had held for so long, silenced his skeptics and reigned the game with the national championship trophy.

“No words,” said Fitzpatrick after unfurling the trophy. “It’s what you grew up dreaming of. It’s something I worked so hard for – for so long – it was a big monkey on my back trying to win [in the United States], That’s what everyone said. To do this with a Major for my first win, there’s nothing better.”

Here’s a breakdown of the rest of the leaderboards at the 2022 US Open

T2. Will Zalatoris and Scotty Scheffler (-5): After all, it’s a game of inches, and when both Zalatoris and Schaeffler lowered birdie chances on the 72nd hole, Fitzpatrick becomes your US Open champion. It was a valiant effort from Zalatoris, who after bogeying at par-4 15h added a birdie on the 16th and gave himself two more real opportunities. It wasn’t meant to be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her first win – like that of Fitzpatrick – comes in a major championship as she now has three runner-up results in just nine appearances and a top 10 in all seven majors in which she won. Played over the weekend.

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“Will is a really talented player. He’s mentally strong. That’s why he performs so well,” said his good friend Kay Scheffler. “It just so happens that the last two Majors he’s been up against great champions in FitzY’s and Justin Thomas. It’s one of those deals where you keep knocking on the door and position yourself, and he’ll come.” I’m sure he’ll win one of these when it’s all said and done.”

4. Hideki Matsuyama (-3): A 5-under 65, in the bottom round of the day, pushed the former Masters champion into contention when he was discussed for much of the week. It’s been a strange year for Matsuyama as he has struggled with injury, been disqualified and has now finished in the top five in a major championship. “Yeah, to be honest, I don’t think it’s my 100 per cent performance, but it has given me a lot of confidence,” Matsuyama said. “So, I’ll do my best, try to add that momentum to my next game, and I’ll be up for it.”

T5. Colin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy (-2): If you told Morikawa at the beginning of the week that he would sign for round three in the 60s, he would have taken it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, a 77 in the third round – his worst score in a major championship – derailed his US Open aspirations. However, his play at The Country Club marked another strong finish in a Major. In 11 major appearances, the 25-year-old has amassed two wins, two top-five finishes and another top-10 result for good measure. He is now eyeing St Andrews for The Open Championship where he hopes to successfully defend his title.

Morikawa said, “I don’t know if I’ve got anything. I think it just taught me how to play golf.” “This year there’s been so much focus on trying to hit that cut and trying to be so perfect, and that’s what I am, but just go out and play. Things are going to get tough, the ball isn’t going exactly where is where you want to be going, but just figure it out.”

McIlroy, meanwhile, was entering the weekend at 4 Under, but a third-round 73 put him so far behind the leaders that he needed to ease his mistakes on Sunday to make the shot. Instead, he shot the first 11 holes in 1 over, and two birdies down the stretch weren’t enough to put him in contention. Rory, who is playing his best golf in years, is still on the hunt for his first major championship since 2014.

Nation World News Desk
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