Golf fan finds Matt Fitzpatrick's ball, ends up costing him a NINE!

Matt Fitzpatrick endures a horror three-hole stretch in round one of the Valspar Championship.

Andy Roberts's picture
Thu, 16 Mar 2023
Golf fan finds Matt Fitzpatrick's ball, ends up costing him a NINE!

Matt Fitzpatrick was left to rue a golf fan finding his ball on the par-4 3rd in the opening round of the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship as he would end up making a quintuple-bogey nine.

Fitzpatick, 28, recently confirmed on the Netflix 'Full Swing' docu-series that he tracks every single one of his golf shots. 

Only he most certainly didn't want to track his tee shot off the 3rd tee. 

Here's how Fitzpatrick played the hole: 

After draining a 25-footer for birdie on the par-5 1st followed by a par at the par-4 2nd, Fitzpatrick sprayed his tee shot way left into the trees at the par-4 3rd.

The reigning US Open champion then drilled his 'provisional' straight down the middle of the fairway. 

But as he walked down the fairway, he realised a golf fan had located his first ball. 

According to Golfweek, Fitzpatrick was reluctant to go over and identify his ball. 

But the rules official told him he had to. 

Instead of the ball being OB, meaning he would have been able to play his 'provisional' from the fairway, the ball was still in bounds but unplayable. 

That meant Fitzpatrick had to go back to the tee to play his third shot. 

Here's more about provisional balls when OB under the Rules of Golf by the R&A

To compound the situation, Fitzpatrick then thrashed his third shot straight into the water down the right flank.

Head down walking into the right rough to drop his ball under a one-stroke penalty, Fitzpatrick then sprayed his fifth shot with a short iron well right of the green. 

The Englishman then chunked his wedge shot still shy of the green. 

Fitzpatrick chipped his seventh shot to 12 feet, missed the putt and tapped in for a quintuple-bogey nine.

He then went on to bogey both the par-3 4th and par-5 6th to fall to 6-over par thru five holes. 

To his credit, he came home in 3-under par on the back nine to return a 3-over 74. 

But Fitzpatrick has it all to do just to make the weekend now as he looks on from outside the top 100 in the 144-man field. 

He's eight shots back after day one. 

It is believed Fitzpatrick is struggling with neck pain, so whether or not he withdraws to best prepare for next week's WGC Match Play and The Masters next month remains to be seen.

Ryan Brehm, who made a hole-in-one on his penultimate hole, shares the first-round lead on 5-under par alongside Stephan Jaegar and Adam Schenk.

Jordan Spieth is firmly in the mix at 4-under par, one shot ahead of England's Tommy Fleetwood, who unfortunately missed a short four-footer for par on the last. 

Justin Thomas and two-time defending champion Sam Burns are also off to sound starts at 2-under par. 

After the round, Burns continued his war of words with the USGA by complaining about the lack of transparency after his driver was found to be non-conforming.

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