Since he’s four years older, Matt Fitzpatrick has never gone down to the wire in a major competition against his brother Alex. The two missed each other in junior competitions and have largely played on different professional tours.
But the sibling rivalry just might get kicked up a notch this weekend at the DP World Tour’s Omega European Masters in the idyllic backdrop of Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.
With a 5-under 65 on Friday in the second round, Matt held on to a one-stroke edge over Alexander Bjork. But while the eight-time DP World Tour winner and 2022 U.S. Open champ is still battling his way into the European Ryder Cup team, brother Alex is just two strokes behind and firmly in the hunt.
This could conceivably bring plenty of stress to the whole family.
“It’s gonna be a nightmare for my parents,” Matt joked after the round.
“It’s going to be a nightmare for our parents!”
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) September 1, 2023
For Alex, who shot a second consecutive 65 on Friday and now sits in a third-place tie with Frenchman Romain Langasque, the chance to push his brother is one he’s relishing.
“He’s my brother but he’s also a competitor so I’m still trying to beat him,” he said. “I shot five under and didn’t gain any ground today so that was a little frustrating. It would be good. I’ve played a little bit of golf with him now in competitive events and it would be fun to go against him.”
Alex continues to keep a hot hand after he captured a European Challenge Tour title in May. The Wake Forest product came in second in the recent ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland and finished T-14 in last week’s Czech Masters.
And while Matt thinks a head-to-head scenario could create major butterflies for parents Susan and Russell, Alex feels a final-round pairing could be beneficial to the duo.
“Our parents would probably be happy because it would mean less walking, they can walk one round instead of two,” he said.
Matt is almost a lock to be selected to the European side for the upcoming Ryder Cup, although he’s a winless 0-5-0 in two previous appearances.
But he has added some speed to his game and knows how to handle the pressure of the sport’s biggest moments. The 29-year-old Englishman will feature on this team for the foreseeable future and his familiarity with the course won’t hurt…