Fitzpatrick crowned US Open champion

·3-min read

Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick is a champion again at The Country Club, this time with the grandest of trophies in golf.

A US Amateur champion in 2013. The US Open champion on Sunday.

In a three-way battle at Brookline that came down to the wire, Fitzpatrick seized control with a great break and an even better shot on the 15th hole for a two-shot swing. He was just as clutch on the 18th that set up par for a two-under 68.

Victory was not secure until the last. Will Zalatoris missed a birdie putt to close with a 69 and finished runner-up in the second straight major.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler never recovered from back-to-back bogeys to start the back nine. He had a birdie chance on the 18th that just missed and left him one behind with a 67.

Australia's Marc Leishman (68) and Adam Scott (68) finished two-over par and tied-14th. Min Woo Lee (73) ended five over while Todd Sinnott (70) was a further shot adrift.

Along with the $3.15 million ($A4.54m) in prize money, Fitzpatrick had that gold Jack Nicklaus medal draped around his neck, which was only fitting.

Fitzpatrick is the second man to win a US Amateur and US Open on the same course, joining Nicklaus who turned the trick at Pebble Beach.

Fitzpatrick won for the eighth time worldwide, but this was his first in America -- at least a tournament everyone knows about. He won the member-member at The Bear's Club in Florida at the start of the year, the course Nicklaus built.

"He gave me a bit of abuse at the start of the year. He said, 'Finally. Congratulations for winning in the States,'" Fitzpatrick said.

And then slightly after lifting the trophy, Fitzpatrick sent a fun message to Nicklaus: "Jack, I won a second time."

It looked like a playoff was eminent -- the previous three US Opens at Brookline were all decided by extra holes -- and then a fearless Fitzpatrick hit a fade with a 9-iron that carried the gaping bunker in front of the green and settled 18 feet away.

"Matt's shot on 18 is going to be shown probably for the rest of US Open history," Zalatoris, who lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas in the PGA Championship last month, said.

"I walked by it, and I thought that going for it was going to be ballsy. But the fact that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was just incredible.

"So hat's off to him. He played great all week obviously and gave a solid round today."

The 27-year-old Fitzpatrick, who finished at six under to become the first Englishman since Justin Rose in 2013 to win the US Open, felt his time was coming.

That didn't make Sunday any easier, a three-man race from the start when Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy fell back and never rejoined the mix.

Scheffler was still hanging around in his bid for a second major this year, but everyone else became a distant memory.

In the end, it was Fitzpatrick sharing hugs with his family on the green.

And there was his caddie, Billy Foster, one of the most popular, long-serving loopers in Europe who had never been on the bag for a major until Sunday.

"Billy said it for a while to keep doing what you're doin and the chance will come," Fitzpatrick said.

"It did, and I took it."

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