Matt Fitzpatrick keeps US Open defence alive with first professional ace

Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick had more than one reason to celebrate after making his first hole-in-one as a professional in the 123rd US Open.

Fitzpatrick aced the 115-yard 15th hole at Los Angeles Country Club on his way to a second round of 70 which looked set to secure his place in the final two rounds on one over par.

“As soon as I hit it I thought that it had a good chance of going close,” said Fitzpatrick, who was looking down at his club when the ball went in.

“The rough’s covering the hole so you couldn’t see it going in any way. My hand was a bit sore afterwards, I’ll be honest, after all the high-fiving. But, yeah, it was good.

“I wish it [the roar] would have been louder. I wish it was a few more people. But, yeah, I’m surprised there’s not been as many people out as I thought this week.

“But it was so exciting to see it and first ever professional hole-in-one. Without that I probably wouldn’t be here for the weekend. It was needed.”

Fitzpatrick gave back the two shots he gained on the 15th with a double bogey on the 17th and although he birdied the difficult 18th, the 28-year-old from Sheffield could only post eight pars and a bogey on the front nine.

“I’m third last in driving this week, so I feel very lucky to be here,” the world number eight added.

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick reacts to his tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the US Open (Lindsey Wasson/AP)

“I feel like every other aspect of my game is pretty decent, just can’t get the driver going. I feel like if I get the driver going I can shoot a really good score.

“I think the big issue around this place is you miss the fairway by a yard and you’ve got to chip out. I think it’s very poor when golf courses are set up like that. You can hit it 40 yards off line and you’ve got a lie.

“So I think there needs to be more done to sort of help more accurate players off the tee. By missing the fairway by a yard you shouldn’t have to be chipping it out. If you miss it by 40 you should be having to chip it out.”

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