FITZPATRICK IS BRIGHT YOUNG STAR
Two young men, Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick
(above), 21, and American Patrick Rodgers, 23, were among the biggest movers up the World Ranking during 2015.
Fitzpatrick, who has the pedigree (former US Amateur champion) to make a run for a Ryder Cup place in 2016, vaulted 366 places up the World Ranking. When he teed up in the SA Open at Glendower last January he was outside the top 400 in the world. A T-5 in our national Open was the springboard for a steady climb up the rankings.
Being fit, young and keen, Fitzpatrick did not shy away from playing golf this past year. Having turned pro in 2014, he teed up in 32 tournaments on the 2015 Race to Dubai, including five in South Africa, and made the cut in 20 of them to finish 12th in the final standings, with earnings of over two million euro.
No wonder he has moved from a ranking of 413 at the start of 2015, into the top 50 by the end of November at No 47. Expect to see him competing in all four of the majors in 2016. He didn’t play in any of the majors in 2015.
Fitzpatrick claimed his first victory in his 27th start of the season, the British Masters at Woburn, and other outstanding achievements included a runner-up spot in the Omega European Masters, third places in the Hong Kong Open, Italian Open, Lyoness Open (Austria) and Czech Masters, and a T-4 in the DP World Tour Championship.
Rodgers, like Fitzpatrick, turned pro in 2014, and with limited status in 2015 on the PGA Tour he played a mix of 24 tournaments on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour. A second place behind Rory McIlroy in the Wells Fargo Championship earned him enough money to secure his future on the PGA Tour, and he’s started promisingly on the new 2016 PGA Tour season.