An eventful Alfred Dunhill Links Championship ended with a supreme moment of golfing history as Matt Fitzpatrick and his mum Susan became the first family winners of both the Individual and Team Championship at St Andrews.
With the event reduced to 54 holes because of weather, Ryder Cup star and 2022 US Open champion Matt put together brilliant rounds of 67, 64 and 66 at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews for a 19-under-par winning total that drew warm applause from the Scottish galleries.
He had to wait more than 90 minutes to be sure he had won as fellow Englishman Marcus Armitage was on a charge at Carnoustie, but Armitage ran out holes and finished three shots behind, tied with defending champion Ryan Fox and Matthew Southgate.
Fitzpatrick said: “It's amazing. Winning is difficult. It was a kind of free-wheeling week, just playing with my mum and trying to enjoy it as best I can and see what happened. Then I played really well at Carnoustie and just got on a hot run these last two rounds. It doesn’t get better than winning at St Andrews, it's just a very special place. We've been coming here for a long, long time.”
It was Fitzpatrick’s ninth DP World Tour victory and his first Alfred Dunhill Links success in his seventh appearance. His previous best finish was tied 15th in 2017.
While everyone is now familiar with his brilliance and focused approach, today on the Old Course the applause rang out as much for his plucky mum as for him. She was partnering him for the second successive year, and battling a knee injury that she was determined would not stop her playing.
“I’ve got a brace on my left knee and I really do need to get it sorted out, but the discomfort was worth it, just so I could play alongside Matt again. It’s been such a great week. It's amazing they managed to get us out today but it's been great. Another great week.”
Matt added: “She got us off to a great back nine and she played great all day again. I just helped guide her around. One of my close friends, Josh, is on the bag, and he's done great helping her out. We had a great week and really dovetailed well. I think last year we struggled on that front. Every time I made a birdie, mum would make a birdie, but she's been brilliant this week.
“Even with all my wins, aside from a Major Championship, you forget about them, but you always remember the one that you won with your mum, so it doesn't get better than that. If I’ve won nine times, I would say both my parents have only missed two or three of those.
“That’s one of the things we talked about last year: playing the Dunhill together. And that’s what we did last year and last year was clearly a warm- up for this year. We did very well this year.”
Their winning score was 35-under, five shots ahead of Julien Guerrier & Stephane Connery and Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen & Erwee Botha, who tied for second.
Their victory matched that of the family Torrance - Sam and Daniel, father and son – in the 2003 Team Championship, but Matt’s achievement, also winning the Individual Championship, gave the Fitzpatricks the edge.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation is the official Foundation of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The Foundation supports several local and international charities including its commitment to developing young amateur golfers in Scotland and South Africa, education through the support of the University of St Andrews and Robert T Jones Memorial Trust, and the support of the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation SCIO, which refurbishes and preserves historical monuments in the town of St Andrews.