Fitzpatrick wins playoff with Spieth | The Express Tribune
England’s Matt Fitzpatrick beat defending champion Jordan Spieth in a thrilling sudden-death playoff on Sunday to win the PGA’s RBC Heritage tournament.
The pair, who played in the same group in the final round, both ended regulation play on 17-under 267 after Spieth shot 66 and Fitzpatrick 68 at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
It took until the third hole of the playoff for a champion to be decided when Fitzpatrick produced a brilliant 9-iron approach shot on the par-4 18th and made a simple birdie putt to win.
Spieth, who beat fellow American Patrick Cantlay in a playoff last year, had over-hit his approach going to the back of the green and needed two putts to make par.
Fitzpatrick, the US Open champion, becomes the first Englishman to win the tournament since Nick Faldo in 1984 and he did so in the town where he spent many of his family vacations after first visiting as a six-year-old.
“It’s hard to describe. I said to (caddie) Billy (Foster), it doesn’t get better than this — walking down here, just looking around. It’s a course I dreamed of playing when I was young,” he said, with his family congratulating him at the side of the green.
“I managed to play a couple of times with my dad and yes, this one means more than anything.”
Spieth had made four birdies in the opening six holes but he missed a short putt for bogey on the par-3 14th and left the door open for Fitzpatrick.
The Englishman then made birdies on the 15th and 16th to grab a share of the lead and could have won it at the death if Spieth hadn’t made a tricky six-footer to force the playoff.
“It was a really good round. I got off to a dream start and then just kind of hung in there for a little while and then made a nice putt to get into the playoff, and then played the playoff really well,” said Spieth.
“Someone was going to make a birdie. It wasn’t going to be a bogey to lose that playoff the way that we were both playing today. He just did what he needed to do on 15 in, when it had been kind of me and Patrick for a little while there. He just snuck in and played some tremendous golf.”
Cantlay, the other member of the leading group, finished in third after carding a 68 to leave him one shot behind Fitzpatrick and Spieth.
Cantlay paid the price for bogeys on the par-4 13th and the par-3 14th, where his ball had stuck in the wood barrier by the waterside green.
Xander Schauffele’s final-round 66 earned him fourth place, two shots behind the leaders after he ended with a late surge by making birdies on 15, 16 and 17.
World number two Scottie Scheffler’s final round of 70 left him 12-under overall and tied for 11th while Masters champion and world number one Jon Rahm shot 68 but was tied for 15th, six shots off the pace.