Bright start for Fitzpatrick leaves him hoping for more of same through 2015

HIGH LIFE: Sheffield's Matthew Fitzpatrick.
HIGH LIFE: Sheffield's Matthew Fitzpatrick.
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Matt Fitzpatrick hopes his sustained challenge at the South African Open Championship is a portent of things to come after making a strong start to his first full year as a professional.

The 20-year-old from Sheffield played in the final group alongside Charl Schwartzel and at one stage reduced the former Masters champion’s lead to three shots before fading into a tie for fifth.

It still represents a promising showing for the 2013 US Amateur champion, who was making only his seventh start as a professional on the European Tour.

“It was absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to be in that position again,” said Fitzpatrick, who in banking 28,666 euros (£22,365) earned his biggest payday in golf.

“Hopefully, I can string three good rounds together the next time I play and keep putting myself in that position.

“Hopefully, this week bodes well for me and it continues like this right the way through the season.”

Having played with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples in his days as an amateur in the majors, Fitzpatrick revealed it was Schwartzel’s ability to scramble that stood out the most.

“Charl gets out of trouble incredibly well, which is something I will hopefully improve over time,” he said. “It’s not something you can practice because there’s so many different situations you can find yourself in.”