Nine days ago he was celebrating a share of third place with Rory McIlroy and taking home a cheque for €138,024 (Dh630,000). This week, Matt Fitzpatrick has only a missed cut and empty pockets to take away with him from the UAE.
His 2018 began in scintillating form at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the Sheffield native shooting an -18 under par 270, just four shots behind champion Tommy Fleetwood.
But while McIlroy went on to contend for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title a week after Abu Dhabi, eventually finishing second, a few “freak” occurrences left Fitzpatrick flitting around the Emirates ahead of participating in Monday’s Gary Player Invitational.
Despite going from high to low so quickly, the 23-year-old isn’t letting himself get too downtrodden by his performance.
“I feel like my game’s in good shape, I’ve got a bit of time to work hard at it again now and get it going for the rest of the year,” Fitzpatrick, a member of Europe’s 2016 Ryder Cup squad, said at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
“I had a bad Thursday. One bad hole Friday, I chipped into the water that cost me a double bogey, I don’t do that.
“I could have saved four shots just like that and, before you know it, I’m three shots inside the cut line and pushing to stay for the weekend. It was a freak day Thursday and a freak shot Friday.”
Despite carding a +1 over par opening round of 73 following four bogeys, Fitzpatrick recovered on Friday to shoot a fairly flawless 67, apart from a double bogey on four when he found water.
He missed the cut despite a total of -4 under and added: “It was disappointing. A few bad holes cost me on the Thursday. It was good to see the scores so low but it would have been nice to see a bit more rough. But I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Fitzpatrick has fond memories of Dubai, he won his third European Tour title at the 2016 DP World Tour Championship, held at Jumeirah Golf Estates. And he insists his Emirates Golf Club woes won’t sour his achievements in the city.
He added: “It’s not soured Dubai for me. It’s early in the year, the second event on the calendar. It’s a long season. If I win events now it’ll go straight out of my mind. Put it out of my mind and it’s now time to work on my game and get it sharp.”
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