FITZ­PATRICK IS BRIGHT YOUNG STAR

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Inside the Ropes -

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.

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