England’s Matt Fitzpatrick wins the 2022 US Open by 1 stroke for the first major title

BROOKLINE, Mass. – Matt Fitzpatrick from England is a champion again at The Country Club, this time with the biggest trophies in golf.

An American amateur champion in 2013. The US Open champion on Sunday.

In a three-way battle at Brookline that came down to the thread, Fitzpatrick took control with a nice break and an even better shot on the 15th hole for a two-shot turn. He was just as good from a fairway bunker on the 18th that put par for a 2-under 68.

The victory was not certain until Will Zalatoris, who showed a fantastic fight back from every mistake, fell to his knees as his 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th just slipped past the left side of the cup. Zalatoris, who closed with a 69, was second in the second major.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler never recovered from back-to-back bogeys to start the nine backs that cost him the lead. He had a 25-foot birdie chance on the 18th that just missed, leaving him 1 shot behind with a 67.

Along with the $ 3.15 million in prize money, Fitzpatrick got the gold Jack Nicklaus medal draped around his neck, which only fit.

Fitzpatrick is the 13th man to win both the US Amateur and US Open in his career, and the second to win both on the same course, joining Nicklaus, who turned the trick on Pebble Beach. July Inkster won the US Women’s Amateur and the US Women’s Open at Prairie Dunes.

Fitzpatrick, who briefly played at Northwestern before becoming a professional, won for the eighth time worldwide, and this was his first in America – at least at a tournament that everyone knows about. He won membership at The Bear’s Club in Florida earlier this year, the course Nicklaus built.

“He gave me a bit of abuse at the beginning of the year. He said, ‘Finally. Congratulations on the victory in the United States,'” Fitzpatrick said.

And then Fitzpatrick lifted the trophy a bit and sent a funny message to Nicklaus: “Jack, I won another time.”

Fitzpatrick became the first player since Graeme McDowell in 2010 to win his first PGA Tour victory at the US Open.

It took a good break, a signature shot and some courage in the end.

Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris were about to go to 15th when the Englishman hit his tee shot so far to the right that it went into the gallery and found a decent lie on grass that was dead and trampled. Zalatoris missed only a few meters and was buried in deep grass.

Fitzpatrick hit 5-iron from 220 yards to 18 feet below the hole. Zalatoris went into the front bunker, blasted out to 25 feet and made bogey. Fitzpatrick took a 2-shot lead as his birdie putt went into the cup at such a perfect pace that it did not even touch the pin he leaves in the cup.

Zalatoris bounced back again and took a hard pin at par-3 16. to 7 feet for the birdie to cut the lead to a shot. Both missed 12-foot birdie chances on the 17th, and then Fitzpatrick missed a fairway at the wrong time and pulled it left into a bunker with a steep spot of rough right in front of him.

It looked like an endgame was eminent – the previous three US Opens at Brookline were all decided by an endgame – and then Fitzpatrick fearlessly hit a barrel with a 9-iron that carried the gaping bunker in front of the green and settled 18 feet away.

He missed narrowly and could only see when Zalatoris missed his last chance.

“Matt’s shot at 18 will likely appear in the rest of the US Open history,” Zalatoris said. “I walked past it and I thought it would be trouble to go after it. But the fact that he managed it and even had a birdie look was just incredible.

“So the hat is off to him. Of course he played great all week and gave a solid round today.”

Fitzpatrick finished 6th under 134.

The 27-year-old Fitzpatrick, the first Englishman since Justin Rose in 2013 to win the US Open and the youngest player from England to win a major since Tony Jacklin at the US Open in 1970, felt his time was coming. He is careful to map his images and record them all to identify what should work. And he emphasized speed in his swing over the last two years, giving him the length and confidence to be able to compete with anyone.

It did not make Sunday any easier, a three-man race from the start when Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy fell back and never joined the mix again.

Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris, who shared the lead on 54 holes, each had a lead of 2 shots at a time.

Zalatoris, who lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas in the PGA Championship last month, recovered from two early bogeys. They were a draw when Zalatoris made an 18-foot birdie putt on the short par-3 11th, and Fitzpatrick three-putted for bogey from the same range.

The 25-year-old from Dallas suddenly had a lead of 2 shots. He also could not keep the ball on the fairway and it cost him with a dropped stroke of No. 12. And then came another big turning point where Fitzpatrick hit a 50 foot birdie putt across the 13th green. Zalatoris did well in making his 15-footer into a pair and they went towards the tense conclusion.

Scheffler still hung around in his bid for another major this year, but everyone else became a distant memory. Hideki Matsuyama had the week’s low round at 65, but he finished at 3-under 277 and that would never be good enough.

In the end, it was Fitzpatrick who shared hugs with his family on the green, including younger brother Alex, who caddyed for him in the American amateur and recently became a professional.

And there was his caddy, Billy Foster, one of the most popular, long-lasting loopers in Europe who had never been in a major before Sunday.

“Billy said that for a while to keep doing what you’re doing and the chance will come,” Fitzpatrick said. “It did, and I took it.”

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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