USGA CHAMPIONS
Past Walker Cuppers Fitzpatrick, Montgomerie Shine in Overseas Events September 10, 2017 By David Shefter, USGA

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick, the 2013 U.S. Amateur champion, won his fourth European Tour event. (USGA/Fred Vuich)

It might have been a disappointing weekend for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team at The Los Angeles Country Club, but a couple of former competitors – and USGA champions – got into the winner’s circle over the weekend on their respective tours.

Matthew Fitzpatrick, of England, the 2013 U.S. Amateur champion who competed in the 2013 Match at National Golf Links of America, claimed the Omega European Masters in Switzerland, while two-time Walker Cup competitor Colin Montgomerie (1985 and 1987), of Scotland, the 2014 U.S. Senior Open champion, won the PGA Tour Champions event in Japan.

Fitzpatrick, 23, closed with a 6-under 64 on Sunday to close a four-shot deficit with Scott Hend, and then defeated the Australian in a three-hole playoff for his fourth European Tour victory. Fitzpatrick, who posted a 3-1 record in the 17-9 loss in 2013, finished at 14-under 266 at Crans-Sur Sierre Golf Club.

The victory also made Fitzpatrick the youngest player to reach four victories on the European Tour. It was his first win on the circuit since last year’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

“I’m delighted,” said Fitzpatrick, who defeated Oliver Goss in the final at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., to become the first Englishman in 102 years to win the U.S. Amateur. “It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win. I love playing this golf course, from the first ever year I came as an invite in 2014 it’s one that has really stood out on my schedule and I always want to come back and play.”

Montgomerie, meanwhile, registered five birdies over the inward nine at Narita Golf Club to win the Japan Airlines Championship, the first PGA Tour Champions-sanctioned event held in Japan.

Montgomerie started the round three strokes behind Scott McCarron, but his final-round 67 pushed him one stroke ahead of him and two-time USGA champion and past USA Walker Cup competitor Billy Mayfair at 14-under 202.

“When I holed the putt on the 14th hole for my third birdie in a row . . . I felt that I had a chance then,” said Montgomerie. “I’m a big scoreboard watcher, and I looked at the scoreboard and knew I was leading. I just had to make sure I birdied 17 (a par 5) and par in.”

Thompson Rolls at Brickyard

While the Walker Cup took center stage this past weekend, a former USA Curtis Cup competitor – and the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion – won the LPGA Tour’s inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship at Brickyard Crossing on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Floridian, who led the USA to victory in the 2010 Curtis Cup, carded a final-round, 4-under 68 to win by four strokes over 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Lydia Ko. Thompson finished the 54-hole event on the Pete and Alice Dye-designed course at 19-under 197.

Thompson then celebrated like all champions of the Indianapolis 500 do: by drinking milk. Part of the course at Brickyard Landing is inside the famous venue used for the auto race held every Memorial Day weekend.

“Kind of regretting it now because I feel really gross,” said Thompson, referring to the first milk bath by a female champion in Indy history. “Then I went around the track in a Corvette Stingray, which I also have one there at home. It was just an amazing experience. That made my day right there.”

This was Thompson’s ninth career LPGA Tour victory, and she became the fourth player – and first American – with multiple victories this season. Ko was trying to end a 14-month winless streak, but she couldn’t keep up the torrid pace set by Thompson.

Australian Minjee Lee, the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion finished third, while 2001 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Candie Kung tied for fifth.

Four Champs Hoist Cup

Four USGA champions were part of the victorious USA Team that reclaimed the Walker Cup on Sunday with an impressive 19-7 victory, which tied for the second-largest in the biennial competition’s history.

Reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, playing on his home course with a huge supporting gallery, went 1-1, winning his Sunday singles match. Wake Forest University senior Will Zalatoris, the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, posted a 2-1 mark, winning both of his singles matches, while 2013 U.S. Junior champion Scottie Scheffler, a University of Texas senior, went 1-1, winning his Sunday singles match over 2017 U.S.  Amateur quarterfinalist Connor Syme, of Scotland. Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman, a Clemson University sophomore, lost a hard-fought Sunday singles match to 2016 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist David Boote, of Wales, 1 down. He finished a disappointing 0-3.

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

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