CHAMPIONS
Fitzpatrick Gets a Win Before Heading to Oakmont June 5, 2016 By David Shefter, USGA

2013 U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick snagged his second European Tour victory ahead of his second U.S. Open start. (USGA/Hunter Martin)

Matthew Fitzpatrick’s 2016 season had been rather pedestrian save for one major highlight – a tie for seventh in the Masters. Otherwise, the 2013 U.S. Amateur champion had not finished in the top 15 in any of his nine other European Tour starts, including a missed cut in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and a tie for 47th in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, his two most recent events.

But this past weekend in Sweden, Fitzpatrick showed the kind of game that carried him to victory in the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club three years ago. The 21-year-old Englishman, who spent one semester at Northwestern University before turning professional in 2014, carded a final-round 71 at Bro Hoff Slott Golf Club in Stockholm to win the Nordea Masters by three strokes over Lasse Jensen.

Fitzpatrick started the final round with a five-stroke lead over Nicolas Colsaerts and finished with a 16-under total of 272. It was a solid tune-up for next week’s U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, where Fitzpatrick will make his second appearance and first as a professional. He was the low amateur in 2014 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s No. 2 Course.

“I’m a million miles ahead of schedule,” Fitzpatrick told reporters after his second European Tour win. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks, and all of a sudden you turn up and pick up a win.”

Talley Nearly Wins Professional Debut

A little more than a week after concluding her collegiate career at the University of Alabama, 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Emma Talley nearly won in her professional debut.

Talley, of Princeton, Ky., lost in a two-hole playoff to Jackie Stoelting in the Symetra Tour’s Fucillo Kia Championship at Capital Hills in Albany, N.Y.

Talley, the 2015 NCAA champion and member of the victorious 2014 USA Curtis Cup Team, birdied the 18th hole to card a final-round 67 and tie 36-hole leader Stoelting, who qualified for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open on May 23 at Dunwoody (Ga.) Country Club.

Talley and Stoelting each made pars on first playoff hole (No. 18, a par 3), but when they returned to the same tee for the second playoff hole, Talley bogeyed and Stoelting birdied.

Rory Rounding into Form

Rory McIlroy headed for Oakmont Country Club immediately after finishing his final round of the Memorial Tournament on Sunday. The 2011 U.S. Open champion will carry good vibes going into the season’s second major after a tie for fourth at Muirfield Village. McIlroy carded a final-round 68 to finish two strokes out of the playoff between eventual winner William McGirt and Jon Curran.

Also sharing fourth place was 54-hole co-leader Matt Kuchar, the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

Around the Association