Alex Fitzpatrick qualified for his first ever major last week at Final Open Qualifying and now, he’s on the path to building a professional CV to be proud of…
Entering the professional ranks with high expectations, as well as a major-winning sibling, is something Alex Fitzpatrick described as “a difficult topic” after Final Open Qualifying.
Hurtful remarks on social media don’t help the issue Fitzpatrick has dealt with since childhood, but playing in his first major championship could help to forge his own name in the game.
He’ll now be able to practice alongside his brother Matt in the lead-up to the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in front of what should be a hugely supportive home crowd, if the passionate spectators at West Lancashire were anything to go by.
After advancing through the 36-hole qualifying event, the 24-year-old discussed coping with the pressure on his shoulders following his brother’s success in Europe and his breakthrough US Open win at Brookline.
“It’s a very difficult topic. It’s something I’ve dealt with since I was young,” Fitzpatrick said on Merseyside. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Sometimes, it’s pretty hard. You’ve got tweets sent to you from people with random messages saying, ‘You’re not as good as your brother’ and other little things.
“I love my brother to death and he’s a fantastic golfer, I would never change it for the world. But people expect you to do a lot of things and its hard to live up to that. But, you make your own path and I feel like I’m on my way to doing that.
“This day was about me and it was great to experience that. My brother knows and understands it, he’s been phenomenal and every chance (I have) to be Alex, he wants it and tries to get that to happen.
“You can’t help being US Open champion. I would never wish him not to be, I couldn’t be prouder. I’ll still have a great week. I’ll still be Alex to me and try to play well and see where I can finish.
10 years ago yesterday I qualified for The Open for the first time. Today my brother does the same exact thing!! Couldn’t be prouder and can’t wait to play a major championship with him! pic.twitter.com/eKLEt0Elzq— Matt Fitzpatrick (@MattFitz94) July 4, 2023
“I’m very appreciative and lucky to have someone so high up in the ranking and so good at golf just a text message away or a phone call or in person. I’m sure I’ll play every practice round with him and it’s great for my family and we’re going to have a lot of support.”
Fitzpatrick carded rounds of 70 and 65 to finish on 9-under-par and safely secure one of the five spots available at West Lancs, joining Matt Wallace, Matthew Jordan, Kyle Barker and Tiger Christensen in the field for the 2023 Open Championship.
He made the first of his two Walker Cup appearances at Hoylake in 2019 and colourfully reminisced about “pooing his pants” as the 1st hole was so close to the driving range, but he also knows the course well and it appears an ideal place to make his Open debut.
After a four-year college career at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Fitzpatrick turned professional in 2022 and is currently plying his trade on the Challenge Tour with a view to progressing to the DP World Tour.
“College golf is very different,” he added. “You have four other guys on the team and you have the coaches who walk round. They help you with shots and they’re gone for a lot of the time.
“In professional golf, you’re out there and all alone and especially on the Challenge Tour, everyone gets the views of the PGA Tour and the European Tour which is a lot of money and its great to play on, don’t get me wrong.
“You get the Challenge Tour and if you miss the cut, you don’t get anything, and even if you just make the cut, you’re still losing money. It’s hard, professional golf is hard and people don’t quite understand that. It’s just a grind.
“One week you’re in Italy, then the next week you’re in Spain, the next week you’re in France. There’s a lot of travel involved and just figuring that out as you go is something I’ve tried to do.
“I personally love it, I think it’s great having the chance to play for trophies and move yourself up to different tours. I think it’s great.”
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