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Alex breaks pro duck

Alex Fitzpatrick gave notice of his arrival as a professional with an assured performance at The Open, before landing his first win on the Challenge Tour a fortnight later. The Hallamshire man and Walker Cup player had reached no.4 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings before following big brother Matt’s path into the pro game last year. After coming through qualifying for Royal Liverpool, Alex made the cut and then sank the tournament’s longest putt of the week – from 72ft – on his way to a tie for 17th on -2, four strokes better than his US Open-winning brother. Straight back on the Challenge Tour he had a solid four days in the Irish Challenge before heading back to England and St Mellion in Cornwall where he produced a commanding performance to win by 5-shots on -12, after starting the final round three behind leader Stuart Manley. “I’m ecstatic,” he said afterwards. “I feel like I’ve been playing some decent golf at the moment and feel like I’ve been putting in a lot of work, so it’s nice to see it finally pay off. Sundays are always tough and you know that people are going to try to make a move, but luckily I was the one who did it.” Difference? “Over the past year on the Challenge Tour I feel like I’ve put myself in contention a lot. I did it in India, the Netherlands ... after a couple of rounds just not got over the line really. I think today was just about trying to keep level headed.” He birdied two of his opening four holes to close the gap to one. After Manley bogeyed six, Fitzpatrick took the outright lead for the first time on the following hole and added back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 to move clear and despite a bogey on the 15th, parred his way home. “I bogeyed the 18th on day three, but before that I’d gone 48 holes without a bogey, which around this course is pretty good,” he added. “It was tense to be honest. I didn’t know where I was until I came off the 13th green where I holed a really good putt. At that point, I just had to know where I was. Our target at the start of the day was to get to 13 under par, and I was close enough.”


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