• English 21-year-old secures place in Ryder Cup team
• "It's absolutely phenomenal" says Matt Fitzpatrick
• Nine automatic Euro qualifiers confirmed
Matt Fitzpatrick has described qualifying for his first Ryder Cup match as ‘absolutely phenomenal’.
The 21-year-old Englishman locked down his place in European captain Darren Clarke’s side after finishing fifth at the Czech Masters. That, combined with Thomas Pieters’ failing to defend his title and Shane Lowry not managing to finish in the top four at the Wyndham Championship, confirmed the nine automatic European qualifiers with a week to spare.
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Fitzpatrick is one of five rookies to have earned their places on the team, alongside fellow Englishmen Danny Willett, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, as well as Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
Rory McIlroy, Open champion Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose are the other automatic qualifiers.
Clarke will name his three wild cards on August 30.
Europe are looking to extend their winning streak in the match to four-in-a-row and nine in the last 11 matches.
Fitzpatrick, who will be 22 by the time the match comes around, looks likely to be the youngest player on either side. However, the former US Amateur champion is not fazed by that and is, instead, looking forward to the occasion.
"I'm just delighted to be in the team" - Matt Fitzpatrick
"It's very exciting now," said Fitzpatrick, who has been in the automatic qualification places for ten months. "We can look forward to it and get my game in shape.
"I've probably been in the team for the longest period of time. It started a few weeks before I won at the British Masters and jumped into the team and I've managed to stay there since then. It's been absolutely phenomenal and I'm just delighted to be in the team.
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"It's a great opportunity. Hopefully, I can just keep pushing on my game and getting better.”
Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood and two-time major winner Martin Kaymer are expected to be two of Clarke’s picks, with Scotland’s Russell Knox in the frame for the third along with Pieters and US Open runner-up Shane Lowry.
Matt Fitzpatrick: Did you know…
Matt Fitzpatrick was expected to turn professional after winning the US Amateur Championship in 2013. However, his father insisted that he go to university first to have something to fall back on in case he proved to be a ‘flash in the pan’! He spent a semester at Northwestern University in the US before dropping out to turn pro.