Sheffield starlet Fitzpatrick hits the Open road as he locks horns with the likes of Woods and McIlroy at Muirfield

The Yorkshire Amateur Championship at Ganton Golf Club sat 9th july 2011'Runner up Matthew Fitzpatrick
The Yorkshire Amateur Championship at Ganton Golf Club sat 9th july 2011'Runner up Matthew Fitzpatrick
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He has been mistaken for a keen spectator collecting stray balls hit by Tiger Woods on the driving range, and has been repeatedly asked for his pass at Muirfield because he looks so young.

But make no mistake, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Sheffield’s newest young golfing star, has reached the Open on merit.

The 18-year-old earned his chance to compete for that famous Claret Jug after qualifying for the prestigious event, beating the likes of Colin Montgomerie and former Ryder Cup captain Mark James with rounds of 69 and 72 at Gullane No 1 course in East Lothian.

“I wasn’t in great form coming into this year, actually,” Matthew said.

“I’d been playing pretty badly, but I just decided to enjoy it. Not many people get the chance to qualify, so why not just enjoy it.”

Matt is currently the British Boys Champion after a brilliant victory last year and will be heading to Northwestern University in Chicago this September to begin a four-year degree course.

“I’m really looking forward to the Open now,” he said.

“I’m toying with the idea of getting up really early and trying to see Tiger Woods on the course.

“I’ve never really had a golf idol as such, but to be around someone like Tiger Woods will be special. It’s going to be nice that a lot of my friends, girlfriend and family will be able to watch me.”

Along with millions around the world on TV. What a stage for the boy from Hallamshire GC to make a name for himself.