Golf: Marvellous Matt a star in the making

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He is following in the footsteps of some of the greatest names in golf history - Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer among them - and now Sheffield’s rising young golfing star Matthew Fitzpatrick can ponder the prospect of appearing in the sport’s greatest tournaments just like those heroes of the game.

The 18-year-old, who plays out of Hallamshire Golf Club, is enjoying a vintage year topped by his magnificent achievement at the weekend in winning the US Amateur Championship which includes Woods, Nicklaus, Palmer and this year’s Open champion Phil Mickelson on its list of winners as well as many others who have gone on to be leading players in the professional game.

Now ranked No 1 amateur in the world, Fitzpatrick can contemplate the rewards for conquering the finest amateur golfers in the world because his success automatically qualifies him for next year’s US Masters, the US Open and also our Open championship where, at Muirfield this year, he won the silver medal as leading amateur.

Clearly the chance to play at Augusta carries that extra-special appeal for him.

“As everyone says, Augusta and the Masters is golfing heaven and to get in there and the other majors as well is unbelievable,” he said. “To get a game at Augusta is virtually impossible and this was my best opportunity.”

To complete a magnificent 24 hours, he was named in the GB and Ireland Walker Cup team to play the USA in New York on Sept 7 and 8.

Later that month, having left Sheffield’s Tapton House School this time following his A levels, Matthew will be back in America to study and play collegiate golf at Northwestern University in Chicago. Many are tipping a great future for Fitzpatrick who, two weeks ago, lost in the final of the English Amateur Championship. Last year he won the British Boys’ Championship.

He is the first English golfer since 1911 to win the US Amateur crown and did so in particularly impressive fashion, three of his last four winning margins - including the final - being by 4&3. His closest match was a 2&1 semi-final win over Canada’s Corey Connors.