Matt Fitzpatrick believes he can contend for the Masters title after matching the last 54 holes of champion Tiger Woods at Augusta National.
Fitzpatrick, who finished in a tie for seventh when fellow Sheffield native Danny Willett won the green jacket in 2016, looked set for an early exit after an opening 78, but followed that with rounds of 67, 68 and 70.
That meant the 24-year-old former US Amateur champion played the final three rounds in 11 under par, the same as 15-time major winner Woods, and left him full of confidence for his next appearance in the year’s first major championship.
“This is my fifth time here, once as an amateur, four times as a pro. I am definitely five times wiser,” said Fitzpatrick, who finished in a tie for 21st alongside Rory McIlroy.
“Every time I’ve learned new breaks on greens. The 18th has completely bamboozled me! They’ve re-done that green. There are plenty of putts that I’ve done wrong or right. I’ve just noted that down for next year.
“It’s given me confidence that I can compete, or even win here. I get that everyone can say ‘If I didn’t hit that shot’.
“But stood on the 14th tee (on Sunday) I was six under, with a six-over first round. If I shoot level par there I’m six better, I’m 12 under.
“Level par around here in the conditions, particularly on the first day, isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. At 12 under I would be challenging.
“This week has given me the belief that I can (win here).”
Fitzpatrick also finished second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this season and added: “Bay Hill did the same.
“I feel like I could win on the PGA Tour as well.”