Nineteen-year-old British amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick was paired with two of the best golfers in the world, defending U.S. Open Champion, Justin Rose and 6 time runner up, Phil Mickelson for the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open.
Fitzpatrick finished with a 71, just 1 over par in the first round of the tournament behind Mickelson and ahead of Rose. Watch the video above to see his profile in Golfing World.
Here’s what you need to know about the up and coming star:
1. He Dropped Out of Northwestern
Fitzpatrick decided to leave Northwestern University after his semester in order to pursue full time amateur golf.
The young talent had a short, yet successful career playing for the Wildcats. In the fall season, Fitzpatrick had three top 20 finishes in the five tournaments he played.
Fitzpatrick told GolfDigest.com
Based on the opportunities I have right now from a golf perspective, I feel it is important to dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S.”
2. He Won the 2013 Amateur Championship
At the age of 18, the Englishman won the 2013 Amateur Championship after 33 holes of play. He beat out Australia’s Oliver Godd woh was 19 at the time with a 4-and-3 win.
Fitzpatrick’s victory marked the first Englishman to win the U.S. Amateur since Harold Hilton won the 1911 U.S. Amateur 102 years ago.
3. He Plans On Staying an Amateur
Fitzpatrick has been the the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world since 2013 and plans on continuing his reign at least until 2015’s Amateur Championship.
He told GolfWeek earlier this year:
I’m not even thinking about signing a professional contract right now. I just want to practice hard and go out and have a fantastic year again.”
He says that in order for him to go pro, he would have to finish on the top of the field in a major championship or win a professional tournament to consider it. Fitzpatrick got the opportunity to do so by getting exemptions into the Masters and U.S. Open and Open Championship. Since he did not finish high in the 2014 Masters, he U.S. Open could determine his amateur status.
4. He Was Mistaken For Tiger Woods’ Ball-Boy
At last year’s Open Championship at Muirfield, someone on Tiger Woods‘ team asked the teenager why he was holding Titleist balls when he knew those are not the ones that Woods plays after assuming Fitzpatrick was a random kid helping out.
When Fitzpatrick told the man that the balls were for him, he walked away much to Fitzpatrick amusement.
Fitzpatrick recalled the incident in an interview with The Independent, saying:
It still makes me laugh.”
5. He is Comparable to Rory McIlroy
The Independent made close comparisons between former No. 1 players in the world, Rory Mcilroy and Luke Donald and the current No.1 amateur in the world. Like Donald, he is quickly rising through the ranks and played for Northwestern (for a longer time).
They described him to be like Donald, saying:
…organised, even-tempered, the thinking man’s golfer.”
Fitzpatrick was also compared to Rory McIlroy, but they found more differences in his personality and style of play than similarities which were solely based on age. Fitzpatrick’s manager, Chubby Chandler commented:
Rory is a wonderful talent with a big game, but as an amateur Matt has done more.”