Tour News

British teen Fitzpatrick turns pro

British golfer Matthew Fitzpatrick, the only amateur to make the cut at the US Open, is turning pro, aged 19, the following week at the Irish Open

BRITISH teen Matthew Fitzpatrick is making his last weekend as an amateur golfer one to remember.

The 19-year-old Englishman, who will launch his professional career at next week's Irish Open, has sealed low amateur honours at the US Open by being the only one to make the cut at Pinehurst.

"Overall just happy to make the cut," Fitzpatrick said. "Then just to push on from there. At the minute it's just try to keep on making cuts and taking it from there, really."

Fitzpatrick, the reigning US Amateur champion, earned praise and plaudits from his playing partners for the first two days, reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson and 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose of England.

"He's obviously a great player and I wish him well," Mickelson said.

"Matt played really well," Rose said. "He's a wonderful putter."

Fitzpatrick exchanged congratulatory messages with his sporting hero, England's Joe Root, after the cricketer smashed his first double century at the Test match against Sri Lanka on Friday at Lord's.

"I found out he had done his double century and that was obviously very impressive," Fitzpatrick said.

And his third round Saturday started early enough for him to catch a telecast of England's World Cup football opener against Italy.

Fitzpatrick went 71-73 alongside stars Rose and Mickelson over the first two rounds at formidable Pinehurst.

"Both Justin and Phil were great," he said. "They were both positive with me and about me. If I hit a good shot, I heard them say, 'Good shot,' and it was nice to have that support from two fantastic players."

Next week he begins the tricky path of trying to qualify for a spot on the European Tour with sponsor invitations to seven events. He will also play some developmental tour events to try and earn his card that way.

Turning professional also means surrendering an automatic spot in next month's British Open at Hoylake, where as an 11-year-old spectator he watched Tiger Woods win the Claret Jug.


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