Award-chasing Matt Fitzpatrick out to secure top 50 berth

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick
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All eyes may be on the exploits of Danny Willett this weekend but there are also high stakes for fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick.

His 13th place finish in last weekend’s BMW Masters saw the 21-year-old break into the top 50 of the world rankings for the first time.

And with a place at next year’s Masters in Augusta up for grabs, Fitzpatrick will be determined to fully secure top 50 status before the end of the calendar year.

There is also a determination to continue his superb run of form right through to the end of his maiden season on the European Tour.

The Hallamshire Golf Club member has finished 13th or higher in four of his last five events, shooting more than 70 in just four of his last 20 competitive rounds.

Such form has left Fitzpatrick firmly in contention for the prestigious Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year prize heading into the European Tour’s final event of the season, the DP World Tour Championships this weekend in Dubai.

Four golfers can claim the title including Byeong-hun An who still holds an outsider’s chance of finishing top of the overall Order of Merit.

An is in pole position, sitting seventh in the Race to Dubai rankings with Fitzpatrick back in 14th, trailing by 322,423 points. Anirban Lahiri and Rikard Karlberg are also in contention.

Fitzpatrick said: “It would be nice to win Rookie of the Year at the end of the season.

“There are a lot of great players who have won that award at the start of their careers.

“But I might need a good week this week to do it with Ben and Anirban right there.

“It’s been a very busy first year, a long one but very, very good and a lot better than I ever could have hoped for.

“At the start of the year my aim was just to keep my Tour card and see where it took me after that.

“So to have exceeded that, by some way, is brilliant.”

Fitzpatrick begins his round at 7.40am alongside Soren Kjeldsen.