First he was in. And then he was out.
By winning the 2013 U.S. Amateur, Matthew Fitzpatrick earned berths in this year’s Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. But by turning pro after his low-amateur performance at the U.S. Open last month, Fitzpatrick forsook his exemption into the upcoming Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Although Fitzpatrick performed creditably in his pro debut, finishing T29 and earning a little less than $25,000 at the Irish Open 10 days ago, he failed Tuesday in his bid to regain the spot he once had in the Open Championship.
Competing in 36-hole qualifying at England’s Hillside Golf Club, Fitzpatrick shot 73-75 and finished 10 shots off the pace set by John Singleton, Christopher Hanson and Oscar Floren, who each punched tickets to Hoylake in two weeks.
After showing promise in the tour starts he’s earned by virtue of his amateur success, Fitzpatrick officially has entered the Darwinian world of the fledgling pro. While he likely won’t despair about missing the next major – he can look to countryman Justin Rose for an example of someone who blossomed after struggling early as a pro – Fitzpatrick has much work ahead to prove himself at golf’s highest level.