Fitzpatrick seals British Boys title

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick from Yorkshire is the new British Boys champion. He won the title with a magnificent display of controlled golf to beat Henry James from Kidderminster 10 and 8 in the 36-hole final at Notts (Hollinwell) Golf Club at the weekend.

Fitzpatrick (image © Tom Ward), from the Hallamshire club in Sheffield, dominated the final. He was 9-up after the first 18 holes and approximately six under par, then played the next ten holes in one under par to complete the most lop-sided final since TR Shannon defeated Sandy Lyle 10 and 9 at Royal Liverpool in 1974.

The title is an early birthday present for the England boy international, who will turn 18 on 1stSeptember.

James, who was seeking to add the British title to the Welsh Boys Championship, fell behind on the second when he failed to get up-and-down from short of the green on the 462-yard par-4, while Fitzpatrick took a firm grip with birdies at the 3rd and the 4th then went 4-up when the Welshman three-putted the 189 yard fifth.

The next two holes were halved in pars but James lost further ground when he missed the green on the 8th and Fitzpatrick went six in front when he fired a glorious seven-iron to around eight feet for a winning birdie on the 178-yard ninth.

Fitzpatrick was out in two under par 34 and gained another hole with a conceded birdie on the par-four tenth before the players halved the 474-yard par-4 12th in bogeys. That was the only shot the Englishman dropped over the opening 18 holes.

He went a further two holes ahead with birdies at 14 and 17 and he halved the 16th with a birdie after Jones had driven the green on this 309-yard par-four.

The morning round finished when Fitzpatrick found the centre of the green in two on the 460-yard 18th and two-putted for a regulation par-four. James missed thegreen to the right but chipped on and holed a testing four-foot par putt to stay nine holes behind.

After lunch, Fitzpatrick never quite reached the same heights and James got a hole back with an eagle-three on the 547-yard third.  But any thoughts the Welshman might have harboured about mounting a comeback were shattered when he promptly lost the par four fourth to a par.

Fitzpatrick, who was a member of the victorious English team at last week’s Boys Home Internationals, recorded his eighth birdie of the day when he holed from 12-feet to win the 582-yard sixth.

He then lost the 404-yard seventh when he failed to get up-and-down from short of the green, eventually sealing the biggest win of his career with a fine short iron into ten-feet to secure yet another birdie on the tenth.

“Today was the best I have hit the ball all week,” confirmed Fitzpatrick. “I felt in total control this morning but I have to admit I felt a little bit apprehensive after lunch.  I was so far in front that I think I might have started off a bit too defensively but once I got to 10-up, I settled down and played some pretty good golf after that.

“I feel a bit for Henry,” he added. “He just couldn’t get the ball in the hole and that’s always what makes the difference in matches like these.”

“It was one of those days” admitted James . “In the earlier rounds I holed a lot of putts but they completely dried up today.

 “This afternoon, I had good chances on the first, second, fourth and fifth but missed them all and that was just about that.  Tee to green I was all right but that’s never going to be enough to get you a win at this sort of level,” he added.

Fitzpatrick is the third English golfer to claim the Boys Amateur title in four years following Tom Lewis at Royal St George’s in 2009 and Harrison Greenberry at Burnham & Berrow 12 months ago.