Matt Fitzpatrick wins dramatic U.S. Open

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Matthew Fitzpatrick won his first major title and repeated history on Sunday at the 122nd U.S. Open. Here’s how Fitzpatrick prevailed – again – at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Leaderboard: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-6), Will Zalatoris (-5), Scottie Scheffler (-5), Hideki Matsuyama (-3), Collin Morikawa (-2), Rory McIlroy (-2)

What it means: Fitzpatrick is first Englishman to win the U.S. Open since Justin Rose won at Merion in 2013. Did you know that Fitzpatrick also won the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in ’13? That might not have been mentioned this past week. Prior to Rose, the last Englishman to win this major was Tony Jacklin in 1970, and prior to him was Cyril Walker in 1924.

So, this is quite the accomplishment for the 27-year-old. After a career of not factoring in majors – one top-10 in his first 27 starts – a longer, stronger Fitzpatrick has factor in the last two championships. After wilting to a Sunday 73 at the PGA – and tying for fifth – he learned and atoned to become the 13th player to win the U.S. Am and U.S. Open, and just the second (Jack Nicklaus, Pebble Beach) to win both at the same venue.

How it happened: Fitzpatrick began the final round tied at the top with Zalatoris. There were seven others within three shots, including four major winners – the defending U.S. Open and reigning Masters champs among them. For the most part, it was a three-person battle: Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris and Scheffler, who birdied four of his first six holes on Sunday.

Scheffler, however, hit a lull and played Nos. 7-16 in 2 over par. And as it should be, it was over those final few holes where the championship was determined. Fitpatrick and Zalatoris were tied entering the par-4 15th, with Scheffler, two groups ahead, one back. While both Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris missed the fairway at No. 15, the Englishman’s more errant shot landed in a much better lie. He was able to advance his ball onto the green while Zalatoris lashed out into a greenside bunker. After Zalatoris failed to save par, Fitzpatrick rolled in a 19-footer for birdie.

Fitzpatrick’s two-stroke lead was short-lived. Scheffler immediately birdied the 17th and Zalatoris rebounded with a birdie at No. 16. Scheffler wasn’t able to birdie 18, though, and posted 5 under. Leaving the stage for the final twosome.

After Zalatoris bombed his drive 312 yards down the fairway, Fitzpatrick pulled his into a left fairway bunker. Fortunately, he was able to avoid the rough island portion of the bunker and played a magnificent approach shot from 161 yard to 18 feet. Zalatoris hit his approach shot to 14 feet, leaving Fitzpatrick with a birdie putt to clink it. He missed, putting the pressure on Zalatoris to force a playoff. He missed as well.

Round of the day: Matsuyama’s 5-under 65. Beginning the day six off the lead, Matsuyama nearly replicated what Justin Thomas did at the PGA Championship. He made five birdies and no bogeys on Sunday to set the clubhouse mark at 3 under. One more birdie might have put a scare in the final groups, but Matsuyama’s finish was his best in a major since the winning the ’21 Masters; it’s also just his second top-10 in a major over the last five years.

Biggest disappointment(s): Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy. Rahm was leading by one shot on the 18th hole Saturday. He made double bogey, dropped one back, and never fully recovered. The defending champion made two bogeys and no birdies over his opening nine Sunday. He was five back at the turn and shot 4-over 74 to tie for 12th.

McIlroy, meanwhile, made three birdies on front nine. He also made three bogeys. The back-and-forth kept him at 1 under par, but saw him lose ground on the leaders. Though he ultimately finished with a 1-under 69, McIlroy was never in serious contention and his major drought, which reaches to 2014, continues.

Presidents Cup singles recaps: U.S. clinches 12th win in 14 tries

2022 Presidents Cup - Day Four
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Trevor Immelman’s International team began the week at Quail Hollow Club outmanned and as massive underdogs before digging themselves a big hole. But for a moment on Sunday, it looked as if the visitors would dig themselves out of it.

That was until the Americans shut the door, winning the Presidents Cup for the 12th time in 14 events.

After winning Saturday afternoon’s fourball session, the Internationals entered Sunday trailing by four points and needing to win at least 8 1/2 of a possible 12 points in singles to pull off the upset. They gave it their all, too, at one point pushing the projected final score to just 16-14.

But Tony Finau flipped an important match versus Taylor Pendrith and Xander Schauffele hung on after letting Corey Conners tie their match after being 3 down on the back nine. Add in some match-tying going on toward the bottom of the tee sheet and that was enough to kill any momentum the Internationals had.

Schauffele then secured the clinching point with a 1-up win over Conners.

Here is a match-by-match recap of Sunday’s singles matches (as they finish) in Charlotte, North Carolina:

Match 19: Si Woo Kim (INT) def. Justin Thomas (U.S.), 1 up

This one was chippy. Thomas led for much of the way, turning in 2 up. But Kim birdied Nos. 10 and 11 from 20 and 11 feet, respectively, to tie the match. A couple holes later, with Thomas back to 1 up, Kim made Thomas putt from inside of 3 feet to tie No. 13, and the decision clearly miffed Thomas, who rolled in the par. Kim won the next hole with par and then shushed the crowd after matching Thomas’ par make at No. 15. Kim and Thomas traded holes at Nos. 16 and 17, the latter won by Thomas after he stuck his approach to 3 feet. It looked as if the two would play to a half-point, but Kim birdied the par-4 18th hole from 10 feet while Thomas missed from 9 feet to drop to 17-5-3 in Cup matches. Kim earned his third point of the week.

Match 20: Jordan Spieth (U.S.) def. Cam Davis (INT), 4 and 3

Early on, it appeared as if Spieth’s Cup singles struggles would continue as Spieth, 0-6-1 in the format between the Presidents and Ryder cups, fell 2 down after two holes. But Spieth holed 20-plus-foot birdie putts on Nos. 4 and 5 (from the fringe) to tie the match. He added a 27-foot par make at the par-5 seventh to remain even with the rookie Aussie, who bogeyed the ninth after retaking the lead with par at No. 8. That allowed Spieth to take momentum to the back nine, where he birdies Nos. 11-13 to win those holes and take a commanding lead that he wouldn’t surrender. His win capped a 5-0 week as Spieth became just the sixth player in event history to accomplish the feat and the first American since Jim Furyk in 2011. “I was more nervous than I probably should’ve been today,” Spieth said, “but I really wanted to get that monkey off my back.”

Match 21: Sam Burns (U.S.) tied Hideki Matsuyama (INT)

Burns capped his debut Cup with an 0-3-2 performance, but he played much better than that record indicates. He was 2 down on the front nine to Matsuyama before birdieing Nos. 10-12 to take his first lead of the match. The birdie on No. 10 came from nearly 50 feet. Burns gave the lead away at the par-4 15th hole as Matsuyama won it with bogey, but the American managed to sneak away with an important half-point after Matsuyama’s birdie chip at the par-4 finishing hole hit the flagstick and stayed out.

Match 22: Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) def. Adam Scott (INT), 3 and 2

Cantlay jumped on the veteran Aussie by making two birdie bombs at Nos. 2 and 3 (from 20 and 27 feet, respectively). Scott bogeyed the par-3 fourth to go 3 down and couldn’t claw back to better than 2 down as he won just two holes all match. Cantlay sealed the win – and a three-point week personally – after Scott lipped out a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-5 16th hole and Cantlay rolled in a short par putt.

Match 23: Sebastian Munoz (INT) def. Scottie Scheffler (U.S.), 2 and 1

Scheffler played the first seven holes like a man on a mission to secure his first full point of the event. He carded two birdies and led 2 up at that point. But Munoz won Nos. 8-10 to flip the match. Both played traded 60-foot eagle bombs at No. 11, and Munoz kept Scheffler at arm’s length, birdieing three of his next six holes while winning No. 15 and 17 to send the world No. 1 home at 0-3-1.

Match 24: Tony Finau (U.S.) def. Taylor Pendrith (INT), 3 and 1

Each player led 2 up at one point in a back-and-forth fight. Finau won the first two holes before Pendrith got them right back and then some, winning four of the next five holes – three with birdies – to take a 2-up lead of his own. But Finau didn’t give up. He birdies Nos. 11-13 to retake the lead and made some crucial putts – 13-foot and 15-foot birdie makes at Nos. 16-17, respectively – to put Pendrith away.

Match 25: Xander Schauffele (U.S.) def. Corey Conners (INT), 1 up

Schauffele did everything he could to give a point to the struggling Conners, but the Canadian ultimately couldn’t take advantage. He went 0-3 in team play and then carded five bogeys and double against Schauffele. The American led 3 up after winning No. 10 with par, but then lost Nos. 12-14 by playing that stretch in 2 over. He appeared to be on his way to losing No. 15, too, after driving his ball into the water. But he hit an incredible third shot from 220 yards out and an awkward lie to 11 feet and made par to win the hole. Conners squandered a big chance at the par-4 17th hole, missing a 5-foot par putt that would’ve won the hole. By tying the hole, Schauffele guaranteed himself at least a half-point, which would get the Americans to 15 points – enough to retain the Cup. Schauffele tied the last to win 1 up and get the clinching full point.

Rory McIlroy overcomes six-stroke deficit, claims FedExCup title and $18 million

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Rory McIlroy claimed his third FedExCup title by capturing the Tour Championship on Sunday. McIlroy overcame a six-stroke final-round deficit to Scottie Scheffler to claim the $18-million bonus.

Scheffler began the final stanza with a heavy advantage, thanks to a fantastic finish to the third round Sunday morning.

After play was suspended Saturday evening because of an inclement weather threat, the field returned to East Lake at 9:45 a.m. to wrap Round 3. Scheffler and Xander Schauffele, in the final group and separated by one shot, were in the 13th fairway when play resumed. Scheffler played his final six holes in 4 under to reach 23 under par. Schauffele played them in 1 over to drop to 17 under.

McIlroy wrapped up a third-round 63 to also reach 17 under and grab a spot in the final-round final twosome.

Both he and Scheffler bogeyed the first hole, but while Scheffler continued to slip, McIlroy steadily rose. The Northern Irishman made four birdies over the remainder of his opening nine to turn in 3-under 32. Scheffler, meanwhile, posted a 37. The difference was one.

Following a McIlroy birdie at the 12th, they were knotted.

Im was also in contention through much of the final round. He got within a shot of the lead before a double bogey at the par-4 14th.  Im made a couple of late birdies to again climb within one of the lead, but he was unable to birdie the par-5 18th, settling for a 66 and a 20-under finish.

Im, ultimately, was chasing McIlroy. After McIlroy bogeyed the 14th to drop one back of Scheffler, he rolled in a 31-foot birdie at the par-3 15th to draw even at 21 under. McIlroy then scrambled for par at the 16th, while Scheffler made bogey.

With two holes to play, McIlroy led by one.

Scheffler had a chance to regain a share of the lead at the par-4 17th, but after sticking his approach shot to 12 feet, he badly shoved the birdie effort and made par. With one hole to play – and an $11.5 million difference between first and second place – McIlroy maintained the slight edge.

Both players hit the fairway at the 18th, Scheffler driving it 334 yards and McIlroy 342. Hitting first, Scheffler found a bunker short and right of the green. McIlroy followed by hooking his second from 228 yards off the left grandstands.

Again playing first, Scheffler blasted his bunker shot over the green. McIlroy was able to get relief from the grandstand and chipped to 20 feet. After Scheffler was unable to chip in for birdie, McIlroy just needed to two-putt for par to secure victory. He did that easily. Scheffler settled for par and a T-2 alongside Im.