Golf News: Matt Fitzpatrick brushed off a shaky second-round finish to enter the weekend of the Estrella Damm NA Masters just a shot behind the leader.
Fitzpatrick appeared to be on course for the outright halfway lead when he made his fifth birdie of the second day at the 17th, but his chances of handing in a blemish-free card were dashed by a bad last tee shot that led to a double-bogey six, leaving him a stroke behind Romain Langasque.
Back-to-back 69s gave the Frenchman sole possession of the lead on four-under, with Fitzpatrick sharing second with fellow Englishman Laurie Canter, who rocketed up the leaderboard with a best-of-the-day 65.
Only a dozen players are in red digits heading into the third round, with the halfway cut at five over par, which was five better than home favourite Jon Rahm could accomplish.
The world No. 1 did play his final 11 holes in one under par, but his efforts only reduced the damage to a 74 as he made an unexpected early exit, but Rahm put his disappointment aside and made sure that everyone in the long line of autograph seekers did not go home without his signature.
But his two playing companions, Ryder Cup teammate Fitzpatrick and last week’s Spanish Open winner Rafa Cabrera Bello, can look forward to another two days of signing flags and hats after outplaying an out-of-sorts Rahm in Sotogrande.
“I played terrifically, there’s no other way to put it,” Fitzpatrick said, refusing to be bothered by his shaky finish. “I was incredibly strong. I barely missed a green or a fairway, and I put well as well. It was a difficult way to end, but I’m not disappointed.
“You’ve got to forget about it around here. I was at five-under-par and playing solidly when I threw in one of those. It can occur at any moment during the round.
“My attention is on plotting my way around, thinking on where I’m hitting it, and trying to keep making pars – as ridiculous as it sounds, if you roll a couple in, then happy days.”
“I feel like I’m playing good, so all I have to do now is keep it up.” It all comes down to patience and not being overly greedy. You’re making your way around, hitting the appropriate spots. I’ll be overjoyed if I hit 36 greens in the last 36 holes, and I’d be startled if I didn’t win the trophy.
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