Sheffield golfer Alex Fitzpatrick hoping to eclipse famous brother Matt in Walker Cup

Matt Fitzpatrick.
Matt Fitzpatrick.
0
Have your say

Alex Fitzpatrick has a tough task on his hands to eclipse the achievements of older brother Matt, a Ryder Cup player and five-time European Tour winner with more than £10million in career earnings.

But the 20-year-old from Sheffield can go one better than his illustrious sibling this weekend by helping Great Britain and Ireland regain the Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool.

Hallamshire's Alex Fitzpatrick (Picture: Chris Stratford).

Hallamshire's Alex Fitzpatrick (Picture: Chris Stratford).

The United States have won 36, lost nine and drawn one of the previous 46 biennial contests between the top amateur players from either side of the Atlantic, although their advantage is only 8-7 since 1989.

Great Britain and Ireland have also won five of the last six contests on home soil and the last away side to triumph was the 2007 American team which featured Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel, Kyle Stanley and Chris Kirk.

Matt Fitzpatrick played in the 2013 Walker Cup after winning that year’s US Amateur and won three of his four matches, but that was a third of the team’s total points as they lost 17-9 at National Golf Links.

“Matt’s team were beaten so that could be one thing I could have over him,” joked Alex, who was just 13 when he caddied for his brother during his US Amateur triumph at Brookline.

“Obviously the team winning is the most important thing. If I got zero points and the team won I’d still be pleased. It’s a team game so I’d be delighted if we got the win.

“Matt will be here this weekend and it will be nice to have the whole family over here. It’s normally me watching him so it’s a nice change where he can come and watch me play because we don’t get to spend too much time together.

“Now he can see my game a bit more and see how it developed over the past year.”

Fitzpatrick is currently studying at Wake Forest University - the alma mater of the late Arnold Palmer - and intends to complete his four-year degree before turning professional.

His brother famously lasted just a few months at Northwestern University before deciding to join the paid ranks.

The United States, captained by Nathaniel Crosby - the youngest son of Hollywood star Bing Crosby - are the odds-on favourites thanks to a team which includes world amateur number one Cole Hammer and Brandon Wu, who finished joint 35th in the US Open and was then presented with his graduation diploma from Stanford University beside the 18th green at Pebble Beach.

“At this point you kind of throw everything out the window and you’re just playing head-to-head matches,” insisted Wu, who won final qualifying for the Open Championship at Fairmont St Andrews in July.

“Obviously the American team has played a lot of great golf over the past two years and we’re ranked highly, but at the end of the day there’s a ball and there’s a hole and you’ve got to get it in the hole before your competitors.”

Hammer, who took over as world number one when Norway’s Viktor Hovland turned professional after the US Open, added: “I think it’ll excite me to play well, honestly. I’m not scared by it. I don’t feel like it’s backing me up into a wall or anything.

“I think it’s a good target to have on my back and hopefully I’ll use that to my advantage.”

A total of 26 points are up for grabs at Hoylake, with four foursomes followed by eight singles on Saturday and another four foursomes followed by 10 singles on Sunday.