Golf: Fitzpatrick makes cut in maiden pro event as Willett flourishes

Danny Willett

Danny Willett

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Matt Fitzpatrick made the cut on his professional golfing debut at the Irish Open at Fota Island.

Like fellow Sheffield golfer Danny Willett, 19-year-old Fitzpatrick bounced back from a difficult opening round to seal his place on the last 36 holes.

Sheffield amateur Matt Fitzpatrick, England, poses with the low amateur medal after the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C.

Sheffield amateur Matt Fitzpatrick, England, poses with the low amateur medal after the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C.

Both men are primed to continue the strong form they showed in last week’s US Open at Pinehurst where Fitzpatrick finished as the low amateur.

The Hallamshire Golf Club member’s first round as a professional was a steady affair on a day when few players made real headway below par.

He shot a one over 72 after making par on 13 holes. With plenty of the field slightly under par, an over par score was always likely to be under threat from the cut on the second day.

But Fitzpatrick rallied almost immediately in the second round, birdieing five holes on the front nine with just a single bogey.

Par after par followed on the back nine until two bogeys on the final three holes prevented Fitzpatrick from posting a score to put himself in contention on day three. He finished on one under, nine shots off leader Mikko Ilonen of Finland.

Sitting tied for 47, Fitzpatrick will be hunting down a top 20 finish on his professional debut.

It required a similarly strong second day performance from Willett for him to join his fellow Sheffielder in making the cut.

A two-over 73 yesterday threatened his progression into the weekend, with two double bogies on the 8th and 11th the low points.

However, the 26-year-old bounced back to more than make the cut, an eagle on the par four second setting him up for a fine round which also included birdies at the sixth, eighth and 17th.

Rory McIlroy failed to make the cut after finishing the second day at one over. McIlroy suffered through poor preparations for the event after his clubs failed to arrive back from the US until a day before the first round.

Fitzpatrick will be out at 8.17am on Saturday while Willett will tee off for his third round at 10.28am.