Matt Fitzpatrick has dreamed of winning at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina ever since his family started vacationing there when he was six years old.
On Sunday, with his parents in his gallery, Fitzpatrick joined the list of winners to wear the champion’s tartan jacket by sticking a 9-iron from 186 yard to inches on the famed 18th hole, the third playoff hole, to beat Jordan Spieth and win the RBC Heritage for his second win on the PGA Tour.
“I think I can retire now. This one is the one that I’ve always wanted to win,” Fitzpatrick said. “There isn’t a higher one on my list to win than this one, and that’s the truth. My family can tell you that, and my friends can tell you the same thing. This place is just a special place for me, and it means the world to have won it.”
England’s Fitzpatrick, the reigning U.S. Open champion, shot a final-round 3-under 68 for a 72-hole total of 17-under 267. He also climbed to a career-best of eighth in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Fitzpatrick, 28, who carried a head cover of Hilton Head Island’s iconic candy-cane striped lighthouse on his driver this week, matched Spieth with a birdie at 15 and tied him for the lead with another circle on the card at 16 to improve to 17 under.
Spieth should’ve beaten Fitzpatrick on the first playoff hole. Both of their drives landed in the fairway, but Spieth landed his approach about 12.5 feet from the cup, while Fitzpatrick’s sailed more than 33 feet past.
But Spieth’s birdie putt rimmed out, which left him stunned on the green, bent over in disbelief. Fitzpatrick made his par, which sent the two to the 17th for their second playoff hole.
On the first two playoff holes, Spieth and Fitzpatrick both had looks at tournament-clinching putts. On the opening playoff hole, Spieth had just 13 feet for birdie, but his putt just skirted the edge of the cup, prompting a colorful reaction from the Texan.
On the next—the par-3 17th—both players hit irons to inside 12 feet, but neither could convert for birdie. It wasn’t until the pair headed back to the 18th hole for a second time that Fitzpatrick was able to seal the deal by taking dead-aim for the pin.
“I just felt like I had to be really patient. I felt like if I could just hang on in there, do as best I can. I felt like I’ve been playing really solid, felt like I had a great week last week and coming into the week in practice I felt pretty solid too,” Fitzpatrick said.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt the jam-packed leaderboard to learn there’s a massive sum of cash on the line. The latest of the PGA Tour’s “designated events,” the winner in Hilton Head will take home a chunk of a massive $20 million purse pool, the second-largest such payout on the PGA Tour calendar. That works out to a stunning $3.6 million for the winner, more than Masters champion Jon Rahm took home from Augusta National last weekend.
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