Fitzpatrick ruins family vacation plans, makes U.S. Amateur final

Fitzpatrick ruins family vacation plans, makes U.S. Amateur final

BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Matt Fitzpatrick and his family have checked out of their Boston-area hotel, not quite sure where they are spending the night.

They are supposed to be in New York right now on a four-day family vacation. Matt, however, is ruining those plans. But his parents are not too upset, as instead they are planning a trip to AugU.S.ta.

Matt's win in the semi-finals at the U.S. Amateur means that he should have a spot in the field at next year's Masters, and U.S. Open. The invite to Augusta also takes care of Masters tickets for the family. His dad has been trying to get tickets through the lottery for the last four years, but like most people has not had any luck.

Matt's recent run of form began when he was able to focus on golf this summer after completing his A-levels (about the only thing that has not gone to plan this summer, his results were not quite what he wanted – he termed them disappointing). At the Open Championship last month, he gained a lot of confidence that he could play at this level, and it has continued this week.

At the outset, it did not look good for Fitzpatrick as he quickly went 2 Down through five to Corey Conners. The match began to turn though on No. 6, as Fitzpatrick holed a 30-footer for birdie, and then Conners missed a 15-footer for a birdie of his own.

Fitzpatrick's putter came through again on No. 7 when he made another 30-foot bomb, this time for par and to halve the hole. And he brought the match back to all square when he chipped in for birdie from above the hole on the eighth.

Fitzpatrick claims if you look at the stats for both this year and last year, short game is the weakest part of his game. Luckily for him, his caddie for the week is “a short-game wizard” -- and also his younger brother.

It was Fitzpatrick's short game that was his savior in the match today, helping him keep the match all square heading into the back nine despite having hit only one green in regulation.

The short-game clinic continued on the back 9 with an up-and-down for par on the 12th and another on the 15th, both for halves.

With his strong short game keeping him in the match, Matt was able to capitalize on his good iron shots, hitting it inside 5 feet at Nos. 10 and 13 for birdie, and then rolling in an 18-footer for birdie to close out the match on 17.

With the invitations to Augusta and the U.S. Open secured, all that is left to do is break the English drought in the U.S. Amateur that goes back to 1911.

Do not expect Matt to get overwhelmed by the moment. For one, he has the Open to fall back on, where he won the Silver Medal as low amateur at Muirfield. For another, according to both his parents, he is very even-tempered -- his mom cannot remember the last time he got mad. Matt says he got mad when his brother left his wedge behind on the first hole, and he then needed to wait for it to play his second shot on the par-3 second. But, of course, he then got up-and-down for par, and then the brothers laughed about it.

In the 36 hole final he will face Oliver Goss, who beat his fellow Australian Brady Watt 2 up in the other semi-final today.

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Shoshana Agus-Kleinman

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