BROOKLINE, Mass. — University of Tennessee sophomore Oliver Goss and Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick advanced to the finals of the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club on Saturday.
With his 14-year-old brother on his bag and opponent Corey Conners sitting in the famous Vardon bunker along the 17th fairway, Fitzpatrick knocked his approach to 20 feet, then sank the birdie putt to win 2-and-1. He and Goss, who beat fellow Australian Brady Watt 2-up in the other semifinal, will play in the 36-hole final Sunday.
A victory would make Fitzpatrick the first U.S. Amateur champion from England since Harold Hilton in 1911.
“It’s a nice position to be in,” said Fitzpatrick, who along with Goss earned a spot in the U.S. Open and an expected invitation to the Masters just by making the finals. “But again, it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t come off tomorrow. There is worse things, so I’m just giving it my best, and if I don’t play well enough on the day, then that’s that, really.”
Fitzpatrick, 18, has already committed to Northwestern, where he will be a freshman this fall, taking some pressure off this week as he waited the results of his “A-levels” back home. Now he can focus on Goss, a 19-year-old Australian who reached the quarterfinals last year.
“I’m trying to be as calm as possible, and I’ve got a big day ahead of me tomorrow,” Goss said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, all the things that come along with being a finalist like playing in the Masters and the U.S. Open. I’m definitely trying to keep as calm as possible, but it definitely hasn’t sunk in, and I don’t think it will for at least a couple of days.”
Goss and Watt, regular playing partners in Australia, were all square through 10 holes before Goss took the lead on No. 11. Watt, who was the co-medalist in the stroke play portion of the tournament, lipped out on an eagle putt on No. 14 and settled for a birdie, but Goss made a 30-footer to halve the hole and held on for the win.
“It really looked like I was going to be going even with four holes to play, and to sink that putt was just unbelievable,” said Goss, who was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Red Sox game on Saturday with Fitzpatrick. “I don’t know if I could do it again if I had 100 balls. But just to sink that putt was definitely a game-changer, and definitely had a huge advantage because I went to the next tee full of confidence.”