Fitzpatrick makes Ryder Cup push to European Masters

In conflict: Matt Fitzpatrick (Michael Reaves)

In conflict: Matt Fitzpatrick (Michael Reaves)

Matt Fitzpatrick boosted his Ryder Cup hopes by taking a share of the lead after the opening European Masters on Thursday.

The former US Open winner carded a bogey-free 63 that left him on seven under par along with Eddie Pepperell, John Axelsen, Nacho Elvira, Gavin Green and Masahiro Kawamura.

Ludvig Aberg, Scott Jamieson and Yannik Paul were a further shot off the lead in the final qualifying event for the European Ryder Cup team.

Fitzpatrick must finish seventh or better to qualify via the World Points List, while German player Paul joins the team via the European Points List with a win.

England’s Fitzpatrick missed the cut on his European Masters debut in 2014 but went on to win back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.

“I played brilliantly,” he said. “Only hit two bad shots, one I got away with and one I got up and down, so that’s as good as I’ve played in a while.”

This year’s Ryder Cup takes place in Rome from September 29 to October 1.

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy have already secured places on the 12-man team via the European points list, just like Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton, via the world points list.

Players who miss out on an automatic Ryder Cup berth will rely on captain Luke Donald to name them among his six captaincy picks to be revealed on Monday.


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