Since he is four years older, Matt Fitzpatrick has never stopped in a major competition against his brother Alex. The two missed each other in junior competitions and have largely played on various professional tours.
But the sibling rivalry may just be kicked up a notch this weekend at the DP World Tour’s Omega European Masters in the idyllic setting of Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.
With a 5-under 65 Friday in the second round, Matt held on to a one-stroke edge over Alexander Bjork. But while the eight-time DP World Tour winner and 2022 US Open champion is still fighting his way onto the European Ryder Cup team, brother Alex is just two strokes behind and firmly in the hunt.
This could conceivably cause a lot of stress for the whole family.
“It’s going to be a nightmare for my parents,” Matt joked after the round.
For Alex, who shot a second straight 65 on Friday and now sits tied for third with Frenchman Romain Langasque, the chance to push his brother is one he relishes.
“He’s my brother, but he’s also a competitor, so I’m still trying to beat him,” he said. “I shot five under and didn’t gain ground today, so it was a bit frustrating. That would be good. I’ve played a bit of golf with him now in competitions and it would be fun to go against him.”
Alex continues to hold a hot hand after winning a European Challenge Tour title in May. The Wake Forest product was runner-up at the recent ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland and finished T-14 at last week’s Czech Masters.
And while Matt believes a head-to-head scenario could create major butterflies for parents Susan and Russell, Alex feels a final round pairing could be beneficial for the duo.
“Our parents would probably be happy because it would mean less time, they can go one round instead of two,” he said.
Matt is almost a lock to be selected for the European side for the upcoming Ryder Cup, although he is a winless 0-5-0 in two previous appearances.
But he has stepped up his game a bit and knows how to handle the pressure of the sport’s biggest moments. The 29-year-old Englishman will play on this team for the foreseeable future and his knowledge of the course won’t hurt – he finished runner-up at the 2022 Italian Open at Marco Simone after losing a play-off to Robert MacIntyre.