U.S. Open: Past Brookline success 'gives me an edge', claims Fitzpatrick

·2-min read

Matt Fitzpatrick heads into the final round of the U.S. Open with a share of the lead and the confidence of a previous win in Brookline.

The 27-year-old, who recorded the best major result of his career last time out with a tie for fifth at the US PGA Championship, shot a 68 on Saturday to join Will Zalatoris on four under for the tournament.

Saturday's third round was a tricky one for most of the rest of the field, with only nine players now under par.

But Fitzpatrick knows exactly how to succeed at this course, having won the U.S. Amateur in Massachusetts in 2013.

He could now follow in the footsteps of the great Jack Nicklaus, who repeated his U.S. Amateur triumph at Pebble Beach in 1961 by winning the U.S. Open at the same course 11 years later.

"I certainly think it gives me an edge over the others," Fitzpatrick said, looking forward to Sunday's action. "I genuinely do believe that.

"It's a real, obviously positive moment in my career. It kind of kick-started me.

"To come back here and play so well again, it just gives me growing confidence round by round."

But Fitzpatrick knows he will not have it easy, with his experience of a tough final day at the US PGA – which he entered in second place – fresh in his mind.

"I think up until Southern Hills, I didn't really appreciate how hard it is actually to win a major," he said. "I've not challenged really up until then.

"I think, myself included, people on the outside maybe think it's easier than it is.

"You just have to look at Tiger [Woods]. He knocked off so many in such a quick span. That's why I think people think, 'oh, it's a piece of cake; it's like a regular Tour event'. But it's not.

"It brings a lot more to the mental aspect of the game than other regular events, and for me, I think it's been a big change from US PGA to come here to a golf course I know so well, and it's given me extra confidence."

Fitzpatrick might not get a better chance to land his first major win, and he accepts: "Would my career be incomplete if I didn't have one? Sure, yeah.

"I would be disappointed if I didn't, yeah. I genuinely would be disappointed if I didn't.

"I feel like certainly now these last two majors, I feel so much more comfortable out here. My game has changed for the better. I've given myself more chances.

"I definitely feel like I have much more of a chance now to win a major than I ever have done in my career, obviously."

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