WOBURN, England (Reuters) - The European Tour can proudly boast the arrival of a highly promising new young kid on the block following Matt Fitzpatrick’s stunning two-shot win at the $4.55 million British Masters.
Clearly the event is not of the same stature as the U.S. Masters but the 21-year-old Englishman was happy to draw comparisons between his victory on Sunday and American Jordan Spieth’s triumph in the year’s opening major in April.
“Winning wire-to-wire is something I think most players dream of and it’s not often it gets done,” Fitzpatrick told reporters with a beaming smile.
“Spieth won the Masters that way and for me to be in the same category is pretty special. It’s a great achievement.”
What made Fitzpatrick’s maiden victory even more spectacular was that the tour rookie, the youngest player in the field, believed he was not even firing on all cylinders at Woburn.
”I really didn’t think I had my ‘A’ game,“ he said. ”I know a lot of people will probably say, ‘you won so you must have’, but there were phone calls to my coach on Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday evening, all saying, ‘what do I do?'.
“We were working on trying to fix a couple of things because I really didn’t think I was hitting it that well.”
Fitzpatrick broke Justin Rose’s 2002 record as the youngest player to win the British Masters, an event that has been on the tour since 1972 and returned to the schedule this season after a seven-year hiatus.
English fans, who have had little top-notch golf to watch live in recent years, turned up at Woburn in their droves and tournament host Ian Poulter hailed the week as a great success.
“We had 57,000 fans out there through the week and so many kids and that’s what this is about, trying to get more kids out here playing golf who can aspire to be a young Matt Fitzpatrick,” said Poulter who finished down the field.
“Matt played exceptionally well ... he came in on an invite and took his chance with both hands. He was a very worthy winner.”
Poulter now stands down as host, handing over to Rose, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood for the next three years although it is not yet known which member of the trio will pick up the baton in 2016.
Editing by Ed Osmond