Woburn wizard Fitzpatrick conjures a magical 64
By Tony Jimenez
WOBURN, England (Reuters) - Young gun Matthew Fitzpatrick fired six birdies and an eagle to sprint to the top of the leaderboard with a seven-under-par 64 in the first round of the $4.55 million British Masters on Thursday.
The 21-year-old showed the sort of sizzling form that once carried him to number one in the world amateur rankings as he opened a one-stroke lead over fellow Englishman Lee Slattery, Robert Karlsson of Sweden, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Scot Marc Warren.
Fitzpatrick, who was within inches of claiming the first 59 in European Tour history at last month's Dutch Open, took advantage of ideal scoring conditions by racing to the turn in 31 at Woburn's Marquess Course.
He mixed an eagle at the par-five seventh with three birdies and a solitary bogey on the outward nine before making further inroads on par at the 13th, 17th and 18th.
Fitzpatrick has finished in the top three in three of his last seven outings and said the European Masters at Crans Montana in July proved a turning point in his season.
"I started hitting a fade in Switzerland," the rookie professional told reporters. "That was sort of the start of the run.
"It was a great day today. I hit it really nice and scrambled well when I needed to.
"I had a tough start to the season. I missed quite a few cuts in a row even though I thought I was playing alright," said Fitzpatrick. Continued...