Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick’s joy at European Tour card

Former World No 1 Amateur golfer Matt Fitzpatrick who has now earned his pro European Tour Card
Former World No 1 Amateur golfer Matt Fitzpatrick who has now earned his pro European Tour Card
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Decorated amateur, hopeful professional and now European Tour player.

Last week, Matt Fitzpatrick took a major step towards validating the predictions of those tipping him for a bright future in golf by earning his Tour card for 2015.

A largely assured performance over six intense days at the PGA Catalunya saw the baby-faced 20-year-old comfortably secure an 11th placed finish to earn one of 27 cards.

And Fitzpatrick is quite clear when he declares that the hard work starts here.

“It’s an incredible feeling to finally be in this position,” Fitzpatrick told The Star, just hours after his triumph.

“This is something that I have been working towards for a long time and to finally have it is amazing.

“I’m struggling to take it and express what it means to be.

“But I do know this is only the start really. I’ve got to work hard to make sure I stay on the Tour and don’t have to go through qualifying again.”

The attribute that the Hallamshire Golf Club member showed above all in Spain last week was resolve.

After a strong opening few rounds, Fitzpatrick sunk to a four over par 76 on day four.

He steadied the ship in his fifth round and headed into the final day inside the top 25, giving him one hand on a Tour card. All he had to do was keep his nerve.

He said: “I knew I just had to go out and try and avoid feeling the pressure.

“I got a disappointing bogey on the back nine and slipped down a bit but thankfully it didn’t affect me too much.

“I went on to birdie three of the last five holes and finished really strongly, which is something I don’t usually do.”

Fitzpatrick’s decision to turn professional following the US Open was met with questions from certain quarters with some commentators suggesting he should have continued to hone his skills in the amateur ranks.

Given the successful run that saw him finish as the top amateur in both The Open and US Open, top the world amateur rankings and win the US Amateur Championship, it is not hard to see why some thought he was taking an unnecessarily early risk at just 19.

But last Thursday’s achievement went a long way towards justifying his decision.

He said: “I’ve always felt it was the right decision and I’d still be saying that if I hadn’t earned my card.

“I’ve been playing as a full time professional for the last six months and the experience has been invaluable.

“It’ll be a big benefit for to have that with what’s to come next year.

“I’ve learned a massive amount over the last few months and there’s still plenty to learn.

“It’s about taking it one step at a time and starting to compete at that level sooner rather than later.”

The first step Fitzpatrick took was a visit back to Sheffield to celebrate his achievement.

But he made it clear the party would be a short one and his mind will quickly be on preparations for his first event as a full time European Tour player.