It proved an enthralling weekend with a new young British champion at a British event and a palpitating contest in the Presidents Cup, Matthew Fitzpatrick aged 21. Sheffield born, but educated in a North West US university he kept his cool in a final round to fight off the challenge of Shane Lowry and Soren Kjeldsen.
I awoke at 3-30 pm Sunday morning and decided to watch the Presidents Cup for an hour or so hoping I would get back to sleep. There was no danger of that as the final singles kept me wide awake. In the end only half a point divided the teams. I always enjoy matchplay golf pitting leading golfers against one another mano v mano as towho can take greater risks as you may only lose a hole not mess up your card.
The US were favourites as they have won this event seven times out of the last nine. However the international team drawn from South Africa , Asia and Australasia has some fine players who made their mark on the US PGA tour. Both Jeremy Chapman and Steve Palmer fancied one Branden Grace and therefore so did I at 8-1 to be the leading international. He and Louis Outshuizen won every match in the double pairings and then he accounted for Matt Kuchar in the final singles. In the end it came down to the last hole of the last pairing, Jay Haas, son of captain Bill, against the 29 year old South Korean Bae Sang Moon who had to win but his pitch was wayward and he fluffed his chip to the green so the trophy stayed Stateside.
Later in the day Fitxpatrick won the British masters back at Woburn. Is he the new British Jordan Spieth? No, but it’s good to see a younger generation like him, Fleetwood and Pepperell challenge the old order of Donald, Westwood, McDowall and Poulter. I had 1-2-3 successfully backed and any hopes of replenishing the war chest were dashed by the missus wanting a trip to IKEA. In his Sunday Column, after some unsuccessful tickles on Willetts and Grace in the Dumhill event the previous Sunday, Palmer thought he had lost his mojo. He was reassured by boffin Kevin Pullein he needs to consider his long term track record. He will have removed any self doubts as he backed Fitz and Grace. Grace is a punter ‘s dream: a consistent winner of events at tasty prices. He is a gritty competitor once he has his nose in front and I saw the same trait in young Fitzpatrick.