Matt Fitzpatrick and Oliver Goss will square off on Sunday for the 113th US Amateur championship, after winning semifinal matches at The Country Club in Brookline on Saturday.
Fitzpatrick, an 18-year-old from England, beat Corey Conners from Canada, 2 and 1. It was the first time in five matches that Fitzpatrick was extended past the 15th hole; his first four matches all ended with identical 4-and-3 victories.
Goss, playing Australian countryman and good friend Brady Watt, advanced to the final by winning, 2 up. Goss, 19, will be a sophomore at the University of Tennessee.
An incoming freshman at Northwestern who was low amateur at last month’s British Open, Fitzpatrick used a scintillating short game to overcome an early deficit against Conners. Fitzpatrick hit only one of the first nine greens, yet was even par after nine holes and the match was all-square. He saved pars with one-putts on Nos. 1, 2, 7, and 9. He holed a long birdie putt at the sixth hole to cut the deficit to one down, then holed out for another birdie from behind the green on No. 8 with a superb flop shot to square the match.
A conceded birdie at the par-4 10th gave Fitzpatrick his first lead, and he took a 2-up advantage by making a 4-footer for birdie at the 13th.
Conners had a chance to cut Fitzpatrick’s lead in half at No. 14, faced with a downhill 8-footer for par. But the putt slid by, keeping the margin two holes.
He won his first hole since the fourth on No. 16, when Fitzpatrick bunkered his tee shot, but yet again got up-and-down for par. Conners calmly rolled in his 4-footer for birdie, sending the match to the 17th one down.
With Fitzpatrick safely in the fairway, Conners tried to cut the dogleg left, but his tee shot found Vardon’s Bunker instead. His second shot finished well short of the green, and after his chip for birdie missed, Fitzpatrick lined up a 20-footer to win the match. He rolled in the putt, sealing his win, and bringing 17th-green hugs from his brother/caddie, Alex, and his mother, Susan.
Assuming the qualification categories remain unchanged, Saturday’s victory will put Fitzpatrick into next year’s first two major championships, the Masters and US Open, because both always invite the US Amateur finalists. By beating Goss on Sunday, he’ll qualify for next year’s British Open.
Goss also overcame an early one-hole deficit, winning Nos. 3, 4, and 7 to take a two-hole lead. Watt tied the match with a birdie at No. 8 and a par at the 10th, but Goss retook the lead when he made a birdie on the 11th. He kept his one-hole lead until the 18th, when Watt missed a par putt from 12 feet, then conceded Goss’s putt.