Fitzpatrick wins RBC Heritage over Spieth on 3rd extra hole
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (AP) — Matt Fitzpatrick defeated defending champion Jordan Spieth on Sunday’s third playoff hole at RBC Heritage, narrowly tucking his approach to the 18th par-4 at Harbor Town for his first win since the United States secure Opened last June.
Fitzpatrick hit the 9 iron to within 1 foot of the famous closing lighthouse hole to set up the winning birdie on the famous Pete Dye layout he played on vacation as a kid.
Fitzpatrick had to sweat out a few top chances from Spieth on the first two extra holes. Spieth triumphantly raised his putter before watching his 12-foot birdie putt hit the right rim and spun as the pair played the 18th for the first time. Then Spieth’s 9-foot birdie attempt on the right edge at the 17th hole ran out of steam.
There was no mistaking the last hole as Fitzpatrick hit the front of the green from 187 yards and watched the ball land off the hole. Spieth’s try from 26 feet rolled past and Fitzpatrick tapped in for the win.
“It’s hard to describe,” Fitzpatrick said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Fitzpatrick won $3.6 million from the increased $20 million prize pool at the sixth designated event of the year on the PGA Tour, leading a field that included seven of the top 10 players in the world.
Fitzpatrick was twice behind Spieth with five holes left, but birdied on the 15th and 16th to equal the lead at 17-under.
Fitzpatrick, a one-shot lead of round three, finished with a 3-under 68 and matched Spieth with a 17-under 267. Spieth had his second 66 in a row.
Patrick Cantlay, grouped with Fitzpatrick and Spieth, finished third after a 68 left him with 16-under. Cantlay lost this title to Spieth in a playoff a year ago.
“Another close try here,” Cantlay said.
Xander Schauffele was another shot behind after a 66. Sahith Theegala hit a 65 and Hayden Buckley a 67 to share fifth place with 14-under.
World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler shot 70 and finished 12-th in 11th place. Masters champion Jon Rahm finished with a 68 and tied for 15th before taking a well-deserved week off.
Fitzpatrick carried a one-shot lead into the final round but watched Spieth make four birdies in the first six holes to share the lead.
Fitzpatrick played a stretch of nine holes in 1 over when Spieth looked ready to retire. But Spieth bogeyed on the par-3 14th while Fitzpatrick responded with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th.
The pair remained tied until Fitzpatrick’s remarkable approach to the winning hole.
Cantlay, who was so close a year ago, lost his chance to win with back-to-back bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes. He initially missed 2 feet from the inside, then saw his chip off the green at the next hole and ended up wedged next to a wooden pole at the water’s edge.
Masters Champion Rahm’s goal was to win the plaid jacket, here paired with the green jacket he brought to Sea Pines Resort. But a 1-over-72 Thursday threw him back and he never got off to a good start, despite finishing in the 60s for the final three laps.
The crowd cheered and sang as he clapped them back with a big smile on his face. Rahm will return in two weeks to defend his Mexican championship title.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect that,” Rahm said of the fans. “I didn’t expect this in my wildest dreams, to see the kids, the adults and everyone that has that reaction just to see me is really quite special.”
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