Matt Fitzpatrick beats Matt Kuchar to win Hero Challenge in Scotland
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 09/07/19 9:17pm
Matt Fitzpatrick earned his first Hero Challenge victory after edging out former winner Matt Kuchar at The Renaissance Club.
Fitzpatrick goes into this week's Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open with some silverware already secured as he came from behind to clinch a 20-point win over Kuchar in a tense final.
The Englishman trailed by 10 points with both players facing their final shot to the 115-yard hole and, with double points on offer for the final ball, Fitzpatrick applied the pressure with a solid wedge which settled in the 25-point zone.
With Kuchar needing to match that to claim his second consecutive win in Scotland, the world No 13 was delighted with his strike but then dismayed to see his ball come to a halt in the 10-point zone, leaving Fitzpatrick as the 135-115 winner.
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"It was good fun out there, I had to do it the hard way," said Fitzpatrick. "It was great to get the win, it suits me having to hit low shots.
"Matt is a great player, obviously he won the Hero Challenge last year, but he's a proper golfer. The whole evening was really good fun. It was nice to go out there on a Tuesday night and get the crowd fired up for the week ahead.
"My caddie and I walked the course this afternoon when the weather wasn't too good, so to see so many people out there supporting us was great."
Fitzpatrick and Kuchar had earlier won nearest-the-pin play-offs after both semi-finals ended all square, with Fitzpatrick pipping Graeme McDowell while Kuchar got the better of Lucas Bjerregaard.
World No 9 Justin Thomas and Tyrrell Hatton were eliminated in the group stages in the latest edition of the popular quickfire event, which made its debut ahead of the British Masters at The Grove in 2016.