Moments After Eclipsing Rory McIlroy, 23-Year-Old Ryder Cup Rookie Dishes on Their Startling Encounter: ‘Almost Pinched Myself’

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Eleven of the 12 European Ryder Cup participants playing in this week’s BMW PGA Championship shot par or better on Day 1 at Wentworth, but it was Matt Fitzpatrick (-6), Ludvig Aberg (-4) and Tyrrell Hatton (-4) who led the way for a team that will square off against the United States in Rome in the 44th edition of the team event later this month.
Aberg is surely feeling himself after being named to the team two weeks ago and opening with 68 to fall into T12, four back of leader Marcus Helligkilde. But it’s probably Fitzpatrick and Hatton who will matter more to the European side in Rome.
Hatton needed a good showing following his unexpected missed cut last week at the Irish Open. He put together a nearly-clean card with five birdies and a bogey and is now poised for his first top 10 since the Scottish Open in July.
Hatton’s history at this event is a bit odd. In his last five showings, he has three missed cuts, a T57 and … a victory (back in 2020). It’s not everything, but a nice rebound from last week’s bad 75-69 performance would be a good boost going into the Ryder Cup.
Fitzpatrick on the other hand has been stellar of late with three consecutive top 10 finishes. He’s the new 5-1 favorite to win this tournament after his 66 on Thursday.
Much of the questioning to all of these golfers following the round pertained to how much they’re all thinking about the Ryder Cup. Most said it’s hard to not think about it given its magnitude and proximity. Fitzpatrick, though, didn’t seem to have that problem.

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