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FedExCup Update: Matt Fitzpatrick Finding Form at Familiar Track

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – The week of Fitzpatrick? It just might be.

Matt Fitzpatrick, who entered this week’s BMW Championship at No. 40 on the FedExCup, is doing everything he can to extend his season another week. The former Northwestern men’s golfer has opened in rounds of 66-67 at Olympia Fields Country Club (North Course) in Chicagoland, firmly in contention for the title – and for a spot in next week’s TOUR Championship via the top 30 on the season-long standings.

Fitzpatrick, winner of this year’s RBC Heritage, spent just four months at Northwestern, but his current form would suggest he’s a local and maybe even a member at Olympia Fields. Fitzpatrick finished T6 here in 2020 at even par – he prefers tougher courses – and although conditions are softer and more scoreable this time around, he finds the venue to his liking.

Not to mention, halfway around the world, some 3,600 miles away in Northern Ireland, Fitzpatrick’s brother Alex currently sits tied for second at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational on the DP World Tour.

So, is it the week of Fitzpatrick? Time will tell.

“No competitions. No competitions. I just want him to do well,” Fitzpatrick said when asked about the dynamic between the two of them. “I’m just full of support and just want him to – his (Challenge Tour) win the other week pretty much hopefully secured DP World Tour (membership) for next year, and hopefully can just keep playing well.”

Back at Olympia Fields, the 2022 U.S. Open champion has moved inside the top 30 of the projected FedExCup standings. Entering the week at No. 40, Fitzpatrick needs a minimum finish of solo eighth to reach the top-30 threshold, but he’ll likely need more depending on how others around the bubble play this week. As he sees it, he likely needs a top-five or top-six.

That might seem like a tough task in a field with 50 of the TOUR’s best players, but Fitzpatrick is aided by his comfort level at Olympia Fields.

“Yeah, I think it’s a great layout,” Fitzpatrick said, “I think it’s a great design. I think it’s a tough golf course. Obviously the rough is up if you miss the fairway, so there’s a premium on that.”

The 2020 BMW Championship at Olympia Fields saw just five players finish under par, but as things stand currently, more than half the field is at even-par or better.

Should the course bite back this weekend, though, Fitzpatrick would welcome the shift.

“Yeah, I personally prefer it being more difficult,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t like it when it’s a birdie fest. I hate those golf courses.”

But he likes Olympia Fields, and he likes Chicago.


Friday at Olympia Fields was highlighted by Max Homa (No. 6, projected to No. 1) and his course-record 62, which featured 10 birdies and two bogeys. Homa bested the next lowest score in the field by three strokes on his record-setting day. Aside from his chances to win the BMW and enter East Lake at No. 1 in the FedExCup, Homa also has the Ryder Cup on his mind. “That’s been kind of my goal since these Playoffs started, to get into that top six,” Homa said afterward … FedExCup points leader Jon Rahm (No. 1, projected to No. 3) was among a group of four players to shoot the day’s highest score, 4-over 74. It was an unfamiliar round for Rahm with four bogeys and 14 pars on the card to sit at 2-over for the tournament … Scottie Scheffler (No. 2, projected to No. 2) shot 1-under 69, recording 17 pars and a birdie at the par-4 fifth. “I felt like I could have done a lot better than 1-under, but no bogeys around this place is always pretty good,” Scheffler said afterward … An even-par 70 for Rory McIlroy (No. 3, projected to No. 4) kept the 18-hole co-leader at 5-under for the tournament but still only five strokes off the lead. “Gave myself tons of chances,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I hit good putts, just hit a lot of edges, and the ball just sort of slid by.” … Brian Harman (No. 9, projected to No. 7) followed an opening-round 65 with four birdies and two bogeys for a respectable 68. Harman sits three strokes off the lead and was aware of the differences in his two rounds to start the BMW. “Today was a lot more gritty round for sure,” Harman said. “I didn’t drive the ball quite as well. I was hitting the ball solid, just couldn’t get it where I wanted it to go.”



Matt Fitzpatrick (No. 40, projected to No. 17): This year’s RBC Heritage champion and 28-year-old Englishman arrived on the outside looking in, needing at least a solo eighth-place finish this week to make it to East Lake. That looks well within his grasp after he followed up his first-round 66 with a 3-under 67. Despite bogeying the 18th, Fitzpatrick remains in solo third with a trip to Atlanta within the cards if he continues his current form.

Justin Rose (No. 32, projected to No. 24): This season’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner had a whirlwind weekend in Memphis, opening with a first-round 76 that saw his chances for Chicago screech to a halt until he followed up on Saturday with a course-record-tying 61 and a T20 finish. He experienced the same fluctuation on a smaller scale this weekend – finishing with a 70 on Thursday that kept him outside the top-30 bubble but opening up Friday with four birdies in a row and finishing with a 65 to bring him back inside the bubble. Rose heads into the weekend in solid position to extend his season to Atlanta.


Sam Burns (No. 30, projected to No. 33): This season’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play champion came into the tournament as this week’s bubble boy, sitting tight at spot No. 30 for the TOUR Championship. A relatively clean back nine on Thursday looked hopeful for the 27-year-old LSU grad, and an even-par 70 on Friday doesn’t nail his coffin, but Burns still remains just outside of the top-30 bubble needed to extend his season one more week.

Sepp Straka (No. 24, projected to No. 31): Straka’s fate in Atlanta looked optimistic for the first 33 holes of this week but closed double bogey-bogey-bogey in his second round for a 4-over 74 that moved him just barely outside the cut line for the TOUR Championship. Straka’s recent finishes include a win at the John Deere Classic and a T2 at The Open, but he has been faltering with a solo-63 finish at the FedEx St. Jude and a missed cut at the 3M Open that have him flirting with the top-30 boundary line for next week.


Tyrrell Hatton (No. 26, projected to No. 30): Hatton flirted with the top-50 boundary line in Memphis and saw the remainder of his season flash before his eyes with a first-round 72, but improved from there to finish T43 and within the bubble. He now tugs at the cut line once again with a 2-over 72 on Friday that leaves him with no room to breathe in the FedExCup standings if he hopes to make it to Atlanta. The 31-year-old Englishman is on the verge of missing his third TOUR Championship in a row if he doesn’t maintain a consistent finish this weekend in Chicago.


Chris Kirk (No. 29, projected to No. 8): After opening the BMW Championship with back-to-back rounds of 4-under 66, Kirk sits comfortably inside the top 30 for a spot at next week’s TOUR Championship. Kirk last qualified for the TOUR Championship in 2014, but he remains poised to break that drought and even set himself up in contention for the FedExCup if he continues his stellar play through the weekend.

Sungjae Im (No. 28, projected to No. 18): A T6 finish at the FedEx St. Jude last week ensured that Im would solidify his spot in the top-50 lineup headed to Chicago this week for the BMW Championship but he needed another week of consistency to keep himself inside the bubble to extend his season to the final Playoffs event. So far he has done just that, carding rounds of 68-68 to keep himself in contention and end Friday moving up 10 spots in the projected FedExCup standings. Despite three bogeys on his card for his back nine today, Im continues to vault up the FedExCup and remains a lock for next week if he continues to maintain.

Source : PGA Tour