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The Makeover at 18: Amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick Spends His Rookie Season More Like Pros Than Yanks

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At 18, Matthew Fitzpatrick had been playing in professional tournaments since the summer of 2016. Now, as he prepares to compete at the WGC Dell Match Play this week, he has the opportunity to repeat his feat of 2017. Back then, he reached the finals in the ANA Inspiration, the first tournament in his native England to feature the men’s and women’s divisions in the same season.

Acknowledging his improved game as he prepares for the Match Play this week, Fitzpatrick has taken lessons from Tour professionals and WGC instructors to become better over the years. He said he likes to “feel it” when he is hitting a shot.

A video on the WGC website shows Fitzpatrick showing his game from top down:

A video posted by World Golf News (@worldgolfnews) on Jul 28, 2016 at 8:18am PDT

Fitzpatrick once owned the No. 1 amateur ranking in the world, yet he never developed a long game to rival professionals. Instead, he relied on a short game with the accuracy and speed needed to play in all types of situations.

“You always like to think you are better off than an amateur,” Fitzpatrick said at the Open Championship this summer. “That was never the case for me.”

Fitzpatrick said he went to the PGA Tour after he was passed over at the Masters. His first Champions Tour event was the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Chesapeake, Virginia. He finished tied for 54th in just his third event and earned $90,000. After playing three events the following year, he had another strong finish at the Toyota Four-Ball. He earned another $120,000 in his fourth event, but the rest of his 2018 season was more underwhelming, including a tie for 16th at The Greenbrier Classic.

A video posted by World Golf News (@worldgolfnews) on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:24pm PDT

Fitzpatrick qualified for the 54-hole qualifier for the Match Play, which begins Thursday and lasts until Monday. He held on to his place with a third-place finish in last week’s qualifying event in Nebraska.

He seemed in good spirits after the PGA Tour event this summer, joking that, “I’m holding up as well as I can hold up after the injury I had to my hand.” He pointed to his wrist to prove he has recovered from the tendinitis that has held him back over the past few years.

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