Jack Nicklaus hails US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick after his stunning bunker shot


‘That was one of the great iron shots under pressure I’ve ever seen’: Jack Nicklaus leads the praise for Matt Fitzpatrick’s incredible bunker shot on the final hole of the US Open – but new champion admits it was ‘hit and hope’!

  • Matt Fitzpatrick found himself under immense pressure on the final hole
  • He was in a bunker and stuck behind an island of grass within the trap
  • But he hit a stunning shot before two-putting to secure the US Open title
  • Fitzpatrick described his ‘hit and hope’ shot as one of the best of his career 
  • Jack Nicklaus led the praise to Fitzpatrick for his shot in a post on social media 

Praise has poured in for US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick after his stunning bunker shot on the 18th hole proved crucial as he secured the title.

The Englishman knew he probably needed to make par to win the championship, but had left himself with massive work to do after his towering hook off the 18th tee dropped into a massive bunker left of the fairway.

Not only that but his ball sat behind a grassy island within the bunker, which blocked his path to the green, meaning the prudent play would be to accept his punishment and chip out of the bunker and then try to salvage an unlikely par.

However, Fitzpatrick took a different and much more daring view, deciding to aim left of the lip of the grassy island on a target line well left of the green, and so requiring him to curve the ball dramatically from left to right to drift back towards the flag.

Under immense pressure, Fitzpatrick followed through with the shot of his life, pulling off the audacious play to perfection, landing the ball 20 feet over the pin. He then calmly two-putted for par to win on six under, one clear of playing partner Will Zalatoris and world No 1 Scottie Scheffler.

Matt Fitzpatrick won the US Open title on the back of a stunning bunker shot on the final hole

Under immense pressure to get par, his bunker shot set him up perfectly to win the US Open

Jack Nicklaus led the praise for Fitzpatrick describing his shot as one of the best he's ever seen

Jack Nicklaus led the praise for Fitzpatrick describing his shot as one of the best he’s ever seen

Jack Nicklaus led the praise for Fitzpatrick as he took to social media after the 27-year-old secured victory.

He wrote: ‘That shot @MattFitz94 played out of the fairway bunker on 18 was one of the great iron shots under pressure I’ve ever seen.’

Nicklaus, a four-time winner at the US Open, added: ‘Couldn’t be happier for a really nice young man—a terrific young man! One of the great rounds of golf I have ever seen on final day of @usopengolf! 

‘He had the pressure on him, having never won in the United States, and came through in flying colors!’

Fitzpatrick described his 'hit and hope' bunker shot as one of the greatest of his career

Fitzpatrick described his ‘hit and hope’ bunker shot as one of the greatest of his career

Brad Faxon, commentating on Sky Sports, said it was ‘one of the bet shots I’ve ever seen’. 

Leading American pundit Brandel Chamblee, meanwhile, commented: ‘You will likely never see anyone in the final group of a U.S. Open hit 18 greens in regulation, so watching Fitzpatrick hit 17 greens (drove 5 & hit 8 in two) today, you may well have just seen the best final round performance from a ball striking perspective in US Open history.’

After securing the trophy, Fitzpatrick admitted that it was a ‘hit and hope’ shot.

He said: ‘It’s one of the best shots I ever hit, there’s no doubt about it.

‘I hit some unbelievable shots coming down the stretch. I look back to my three approaches into 15, 16, and 17 as all really, really good shots. On 18 it was kind of just a bit of hit and hope.

‘I just felt I had to hit the green. I was trying to make a par on 18 and put the pressure on him and force him to make a birdie.

Fitzpatrick two-putted to win from Americans Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler

Fitzpatrick two-putted to win from Americans Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler

‘I knew Will was going to hit it close. I knew he was going to give himself a chance. When I hit that shot, I thought at least I’ve got a chance too.’

As reported by Golf.com, Zalatoris said: ‘That golf shot was one in twenty, at best. To pull it off in that situation is incredible.’

Runner up Will Zalatoris commended Fitzpatrick 'for his one in twenty shot' on the 18th

Runner up Will Zalatoris commended Fitzpatrick ‘for his one in twenty shot’ on the 18th

Two putts from Fitzpatrick meant Zalatoris had a 15ft-birdie putt to tie – but it slipped agonisingly by the edge.

The US Open champion closed with a 68, while Zalatoris shot 69 and Scheffler carded a 67 – as Fitzpatrick beat both Americans by one shot.  

Fitzpatrick became just the third Englishman since 1924 to win this title, following Tony Jacklin in 1970 and Justin Rose in 2013.

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