The Masters: Matt Fitzpatrick’s disappointment at end to strong opening round

Matt Fitzpatrick at the 2017 Masters
Matt Fitzpatrick at the 2017 Masters
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Matt Fitzpatrick struggled to hide his disappointment after missing a potential opportunity to lead The Masters overnight in Augusta.

The Sheffield golfer sat atop the leaderboard on -3 as he teed off on 18, following a superb performance in difficult conditions in Georgia.

But his tee shot was wide into the trees and his eventual approach shot found a bunker before he three putted for a double bogey which saw him drop to -1.

Despite the late disappointment, the opening round score was hardly one to be sniffed at by the 22-year-old.

Strong winds and fast greens made for a tough day for the entire field where margin for error was minimal.

Yet Fitzpatrick cut a downbeat figure as he reflected on the close to his round.

“It wasn’t a good start to the last hole, then I hit the wrong bunker shot with the wrong club for that, and then hit a couple of bad putts,” he said.

“I’d played really nice, hit a lot of greens and played really solid.

“I didn’t make too many mistakes.

“It was difficult out there with how strong the wind is and it’s swirling all the time.

“It’s not easy.”

Fitzpatrick was over par for much of the front nine but turned one under after back-to-back birdies on eight and nine.

By 15 he sat on -3 but gave two shots back on the last to drop down the leaderboard into a pack of players on -1.

Fellow Sheffield golfer Danny Willett also endured frustration on the final hole but got his defence of The Masters title off to a solid start.

Willett recovered from a poor start and looked to be heading for a level par finish.

A pair of sixes on the opening two holes left him three over par as he teed off on the third.

He clawed a shot back on that hole but was still on +2 by the end of the 12th.

However, an eagle on 13 took him back to level par.

But he bogeyed the last to finish his round on a sour note.

Masters debutant William McGirt is the current clubhouse leader on -3.

Fitzpatrick was joined on -1 by Ryder Cup team mate Justin Rose and three time Masters champion Phil Mickelson.