Will Zalatoris in awe of Matt Fitzpatrick’s approach shot on 18: ‘Just incredible’
BROOKLINE, Mass. – Will Zalatoris called it a 1-in-20 shot.
“At best,” Zalatoris said of Matt Fitzpatrick’s approach from the fairway bunker on The Country Club’s 18th hole that helped seal the Englishman’s first major victory Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Fitzpatrick was one clear of Zalatoris, who joined him in the final pairing, and Scottie Scheffler when he yanked his drive at the finishing par-4 into the left portion of the first of two traps that guard the left side of the fairway. From 155 yards out, Fitzpatrick’s options were limited.
“The way the lie was, it forced me not to go towards the pin,” Fitzpatrick said. “It kind of forced me to go well left anyway. If I had to hit straight, it was kind of a chip across the green or whatever it was. But I just feel like I’m a fast player, and when I look back, it just all happened so fast. It was like just kind of natural ability took over and just played the shot that was at hand, if I was a junior trying to hit it close.
“And I didn’t mean to do that, but I just committed to the shot we kind of planned and came out of it squeezy fade. Yeah, it was amazing.”
Fitzpatrick, who admitted he had been struggling with fairway-bunker play until a session with his coach at last month’s PGA Championship instilled some confidence, carved a 9-iron around a scab of rough bisecting the bunker and landed it not just on the green but to 18 feet.
He didn’t make the putt, but after Zalatoris failed to make his birdie from just inside of Fitzpatrick, a two-putt par was good enough.
“I walked by it,” Zalatoris said, “and I thought that going for [the green] was going to be ballsy, but the fact that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was just incredible.”
So incredible that Zalatoris added, “Matt’s shot on 18 is going to be shown probably for the rest of U.S. Open history.”