Matt Fitzpatrick will enter the weekend with a one-shot lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after birdying four of his final five holes on day two at Kingsbarns. Just five days after assisting Europe in winning the Ryder Cup, Fitzpatrick continued his excellent form by shooting a 64 in Scotland, following his earlier 67 at Carnoustie. He currently sits at 13 under par, with Spaniard Nacho Elvira and local favorite Grant Forrest close behind, two shots clear of English golfers Marcus Armitage and Matthew Southgate. Elvira and Forrest shot rounds of 66 and 67 respectively at St Andrews, while Armitage and Southgate recorded scores of 68 at the Home of Golf and Kingsbarns.
Despite playing over courses that he has mentioned are not favorable to his style of play, Fitzpatrick performed remarkably well. He managed to score nine birdies and only one bogey, displaying great skill and focus after earning his first Ryder Cup point last week in his third appearance. In the team event, Fitzpatrick partnered with his mother Susan, who contributed significantly to their score of 58, including four birdies and an eagle. They currently sit in second place, one shot behind leaders Julien Guerrier and Stephane Connery.
Reflecting on his performance, Fitzpatrick expressed his enjoyment of playing at Kingsbarns, describing it as a relaxed atmosphere compared to Carnoustie. He mentioned that out of the three courses, Kingsbarns is his preferred one due to its scenic views and hole designs. Fitzpatrick mentioned that his main goal was to make the cut with his mother and perform well as a team, and he remains optimistic about their chances.
During the early stages of the day, numerous players vied for the top position on the individual leaderboard. However, Elvira and Forrest were the first to break away from the pack. Forrest eagled the 14th hole but encountered bogeys on the 13th and 17th, while Elvira birdied 16th and holed a six-footer. Both players then displayed remarkable shots on the par-four 18th, with Elvira holing from five feet for eagle and Forrest making a two-putt birdie from eight feet.
Elvira momentarily took the lead by holing a lengthy putt at the third hole, but Fitzpatrick joined him and Forrest at 12 under with a series of impressive shots. Fitzpatrick’s round included a gain on the first hole, two-putt birdies on the third and fifth holes, and an excellent recovery at the 16th hole. Despite a bogey on the seventh, Fitzpatrick bounced back with successful putts on the eighth and ninth to claim the lead.
Armitage and Southgate also had strong rounds, with Armitage scoring five birdies and a single bogey, and Southgate recording six birdies and a bogey in 16 holes. Southgate experienced some late drama, recording a triple-bogey on the eighth hole but subsequently holing a long eagle putt on the ninth to climb back up the leaderboard. Other notable scores came from Matthieu Pavon and Sami Välimäki, who shot 66 and 67 respectively at St Andrews, while defending champion Ryan Fox carded a 69 at Kingsbarns and Billy Horschel recorded a 70.
Several players, including Nick Bachem, Nicolas Colsaerts, Alejandro del Rey, Daan Huizing, Peter Uihlein, and Matt Wallace, finished the day at eight under par.
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