Matt Fitzpatrick's fellow European Tour professionals call him “Mondeo Man”, but if the 21-year-old continues the form he has shown for the last few months then he may soon be updating his mode of transport.
But then, the Yorkshireman is certainly not flashy by nature and laughed when asked if he had ambitions to rival Ian Poulter’s Ferrari collection. Fitzpatrick had just signed for a 69 to move to nine-under give him a share of the halfway lead of the British Masters and set himself for yet another weekend in contention.
In his last 11 events, Fitzpatrick has finished in the top three on four different occasions and accumulated approximately £400,000. He has yet to lose his maiden tag, but that is not a concern. “It's not something that I'm absolutely chasing at the minute. I'm not focused on it,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s more moving up the rankings. If I don't win between now and Augusta, but get into the Masters, I'll be a happy man.”
Ian Poulter has a considerable Ferrari collection
Fitzpatrick is currently 111th and needs to rise at least 61 places in the next six months if he is to return to the major where he played last year as the reigning US Amateur champion. In truth he could do with the win to achieve his aim and the Marquess course does look made for his wonderful short-game
The highlight of his two-under effort was the pitch on the third (his 12th) from a tricky position. After playing the first 10 holes in one-over, the chip-in teed him up for a stellar climax, with two further birdies in the last three holes to catch the Dane Soren Kjeldsen, with one shot back to another Englishman Richard Bland and the Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat and a group including Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Wales’s Bradley Dredge a stroke further away on seven-under.
“I struggled a little bit hitting the ball out there, and I was just trying to grind it out,” Fitzpatrick said. “But I got the feeling back and managed to make some putts coming in, so that was nice.”
With that, Fitzpatrick was off to the players’ car-park and the most modest car in the lot. “I’ve been getting abuse for having a Ford Mondeo which is four or five years old, mainly from Chris Wood,” Fitzpatrick said. “Unfortunately, I started having my good results after all the good deals were gone. I'll have to wait for next year now. Hopefully next time Chris sees me driving, it will be in a nicer car. Not that the Mondeo isn’t nice and I’m definitely not complaining. It’s got cruise control and everything. I’m still living with my parents, so my priority might be to buy a house first.”