Matt Fitzpatrick admits Hilton Head win ‘bit sweeter’ in face of vocal home fans

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Matt Fitzpatrick admitted his play-off victory over Jordan Spieth was made “sweeter” after he silenced the fans who had made their allegiance clear at Hilton Head.

The 28-year-old Sheffield star birdied the third extra hole to beat defending champion Spieth in the RBC Heritage after the pair had finished tied on 17 under par.

Loud chants of U-S-A could be heard after Fitzpatrick missed his birdie putt on the second extra hole, with American Spieth gesturing to fans to quieten down so the US Open champion could tap in for par.

Spieth then missed his own birdie attempt before Fitzpatrick hit a stunning approach to the third extra hole which finished just inches from the cup.

“When you’re the underdog or the person that everyone is not rooting for, it’s obviously a little bit sweeter when you do win, there’s no doubt about that,” Fitzpatrick said.

“But I felt like I had a lot of support out there myself. Obviously the U-S-A and the Spieth chants were louder, but I definitely had support out here, and I felt that because of my connection here.”

Fitzpatrick is only the second Englishman after Nick Faldo to win at Harbour Town but admitted he had another player in mind when watching the tournament as a young spectator while on holiday with his family in South Carolina.

“I always remember coming here and saying to my dad, ‘is Tiger going to be in it here?’, and my dad is like, ‘no, Tiger is not playing this week’. I seem to remember that happening a lot,” he said.

“I was always looking for Tiger. I remember a few guys when I came here as a kid that I ended up seeing out there (on Tour), but to me, just winning this tournament because of the history that me and my family have here is what means the world to me.

“That’s why this is so special.”

Spieth, who beat Patrick Cantlay on the first hole of a play-off 12 months ago, began the day two shots behind Fitzpatrick but birdied four of the first six holes and took the outright lead when Fitzpatrick bogeyed the seventh.

Another birdie on the 13th briefly gave Spieth a two-shot lead, but he bogeyed the next and Fitzpatrick ended a run of seven straight pars with birdies on the 15th and 16th to move into a share of the lead.

Neither player was able to birdie the 18th to win in regulation and Spieth agonisingly lipped out for a winning birdie on the same hole in the play-off.

Fitzpatrick will partner his brother Alex in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans this week.

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