Matthew Fitzpatrick backed up his US Open win last year with his first PGA Tour win as he edged Jordan Spieth in a thrilling three-hole playoff at the RBC Heritage.
Spieth thought he had won the playoff twice but was left crestfallen when birdie putts on 18 and 17 grazed the edges before Fitzpatrick delivered the killer blow on their second venture up 18 as he smashed a 9-iron to a foot and Spieth had no answer this time.
“Yeah, I think I can retire now,” joked Fitzpatrick who used to visit Harbour Town on childhood holidays. “Yeah, this one is the one that I’ve always wanted to win. Any golf tournament, you know, other than the majors, of course, there isn’t a higher one on my list than to win this one, and that’s the truth. My family can tell you that, and my friends can tell you the same thing. This place is just a special place for me, and it means the world to have won it.”
Both players were tied at the top on seventeen-under after rounds of 68 and 66, one shot ahead of Patrick Cantlay. It was nip and tuck between the pair coming down the stretch, with chances going begging and clutch par putts being holed. None more so than Spieth fist pumping a five foot par effort home on 18 to force a playoff.
However, the man from Sheffield showed his steely qualities and was never shaken by the defending champion.
“I felt like Jordan played really well today. Didn’t really hit many bad shots, if any. I think in the playoff, I felt every putt he hit was going to go in. But I’ll be honest, I just feel like that all the time. I don’t play with him much, but he’s the person that does that.
“Everyone calls it, they play “Spee-eat.” Jordan Spieth does different things. I always had that in the back of my mind.
“The putt he hit in the first playoff obviously had a very, very good look, and then same with the second hole, and then obviously the third one it was a perfect number for us, and I just hit a great shot.
“To finish where it did obviously made it a little bit easier.”
Fitzpatrick had a great chance to edge a shot ahead of Spieth on the 71st hole but saw his birdie putt slip by. When they returned to the par-3 17th in the playoff, he had an identical putt which missed on the opposite side, before he struck the winning iron shot on 18.
“Yeah, obviously 17 in regulation I obviously had a chance there to go 1-up with one to play. It was just a really strange putt. I thought I saw it downhill right to left, and Billy thought he saw it pretty straight, and then kind of looking at it, I felt the grain was into out of the left, so we kind of went straight, and it moved left to right, so it kind of — Billy was a lot closer than I was.
“Then in terms of 18, I felt like the shot that I hit was right down it from the moment it left the club face. We knew it was the perfect number for the club. Then I knew it was good because my mom and my girlfriend were jumping up and down with their arms in the air. I knew it must have been decent.”
Meanwhile, Shane Lowry finished in a share of 67th on one-over after a 72.
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