WOBURN, England (Reuters) - Even though Matthew Fitzpatrick is looking to become the youngest-ever winner of the British Masters this week, the 21-year-old Englishman appears to be more concerned with improving his world ranking.
The former world amateur number one has had a stellar rookie season on the European Tour and wants the next step in his education process to be regular appearances in the four majors and the World Golf Championship events.
Asked by reporters if he felt ready for his first European Tour victory, joint leader Fitzpatrick replied: “It’s not something I’m absolutely chasing at the minute.
“I’m not focused on it, it’s more about moving up the world rankings. Getting in the World Golf Championships, the majors, that’s where I want to be,” he added after a two-under 69 left him at the top of the early second-round leaderboard alongside Dane Soren Kjeldsen.
Justin Rose was 21 years and 307 days old when he won the British Masters in 2002.
Fitzpatrick will be 262 days younger if he triumphs on Sunday but the world number 111 seems more concentrated on booking his ticket for the 2016 U.S. Masters in the state of Georgia.
“If I don’t win between now and Augusta but get in at Augusta through the rankings, I’ll be a happy man,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to play there as an amateur. I don’t think there is anywhere like that place, it’s so special.”
Fitzpatrick has finished in the top three in three of his last seven outings. He has accumulated 681,000 euros ($774,297) in prize money this season but he had his leg pulled by fellow Englishman Chris Wood this week for the car he drives.
“I’m still getting abuse for having a Ford Mondeo,” said the youngster. “It’s four or five years old.
“I started having my good results this season after the good deals had finished. I’ll have to wait until next year now.
“I can’t complain because the guy that gave it to me, he’s a member of my golf club and it’s on his company. I only pay for petrol so it’s a great deal and it is great in terms of miles per gallon.”
Fitzpatrick was asked if he could ever see himself emulating British Masters host Ian Poulter by owning six Ferraris.
“Not really, no,” he replied. “It’s not something I would be desperate to fulfill.”
($1 = 0.8795 euros)
Editing by Pritha Sarkar