Matt Fitzpatrick overcame reigning champion Jordan Spieth in a playoff to earn an emotional RBC Heritage victory at Hilton Head on Sunday.
With the 2 unable to interrupt away on 17-under par after an exciting ultimate day’s battle, the Englishman broke the impasse in stunning vogue on the third playoff gap, inside inches of the cup earlier than tapping residence to clinch a birdie. Punched his shot in. His second PGA Tour title.
Their first got here after a equally carefully contested ultimate spherical end on the US Open final yr in Brookline. There was a late scare when his final tee shot discovered a bunker, and the 28-year-old’s coronary heart fee will need to have been as excessive as each of Spieth’s putts for birdies on the primary two playoff holes appeared destined to accept final place. cup.
But as soon as once more, Fitzpatrick weathered the storm to turn into solely the second Englishman after Nick Faldo in 1984 to win the event.
The victory propelled him to a career-high world No. eight and sealed $3.6 million in prize cash from a $20 million purse, enhanced by the event’s standing as a delegated occasion on the PGA Tour.
It additionally marked a victory on a course of specific significance to Fitzpatrick. Though born and raised in Sheffield, household holidays spent at Hilton Head Island meant a win at Harbor City Golf Hyperlinks was a bucket checklist merchandise for the Englishman.
“I feel I could also be retired now,” Fitzpatrick joked to reporters.
“It is the one I’ve all the time needed to win. (Of) any golf event — aside from the majors, after all — does not get any greater on my checklist than profitable this one, and it is true.
“My household can inform you that, and my pals can inform you a similar factor. This place is only a particular place to me, and it means the world to have conquered it.
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After taking a one-shot lead within the ultimate spherical, Fitzpatrick exchanged the lead a number of occasions with Spieth, looking for to defend his title after a playoff victory over Patrick Cantlay the yr earlier than. Cantlay impressed once more, however fell narrowly brief, ending one stroke of the rating he wanted to affix the main pair within the playoff.
Spieth was booed by the South Carolina crowd as he and Fitzpatrick birdied the 17th and 18th holes, with chants of ‘US of A’ heard at a number of factors in the course of the playoff. The Dallas-born world quantity 9 might be seen signaling for the followers to close up, however Fitzpatrick was unfazed, an excellent strategy that left his American rival needing a birdie from round 40 ft on the 18th to delay the competition Fell
“If you’re the underdog or somebody that not everyone seems to be rooting for, clearly it is a bit sweeter, little question about it,” Fitzpatrick stated.
“Clearly the USA and Spieth chants had been louder, however I undoubtedly had help right here, and I felt that due to my connection right here.”
Spieth’s effort rolled vast for one more painful runner-up end, his 18th on the PGA Tour since his first yr as a professional in 2013 and 4 greater than another participant throughout the identical interval, In accordance for the PGA Tour.
The 2-time main champion appeared set to turn into a 14-time PGA Tour winner on the primary two playoff holes, solely to lip out for his first birdie and pull the second inches brief.
Spieth, who arrived in South Carolina after a formidable tie-fourth efficiency at The Masters final week, raised his putter in celebration as his first try rolled in direction of the opening.
Even after Fitzpatrick’s victory was sealed, his disbelief remained.
“I feel if I hit the identical putt 10 occasions, it goes eight occasions. It ought to go left over there on the grain on the very finish. It did not must be,” Spieth advised reporters.
“Any person was going to make birdie. The way in which we each performed at present, it wasn’t exhausting to lose that playoff… He (Fitzpatrick) simply slotted in and performed some great golf.”