The Open 2013: Matt Fitzpatrick makes cut on Open debut

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at Muirfield
Matt Fitzpatrick

Teenage amateur Matt Fitzpatrick's bid for the silver medal at the Open Championship was given an unexpected reprieve as he made the Muirfield cut.

The 18-year-old from Sheffield was 40 places outside the cut mark when he finished his round at lunchtime after a second-round 76.

But afternoon scores went his way as he qualified for the weekend on seven-over.

That was two behind fellow Sheffield golfer Danny Willett, who carded a 72.

It looked like being a different story when Fitzpatrick overhit his seven iron approach from the rough on 17 for a double bogey seven.

"Maybe I'd have been better off hitting one less club," he told BBC Radio Sheffield. "But hindsight's a wonderful thing and 7-5 is never the best way to finish."

Having made three bogeys at six, seven and eight, a birdie at nine had got him back to four-over for the championship and, standing on the 17th tee, he looked certain to make the cut, until those three dropped shots in the last two holes.

But the fresh-faced Fitzpatrick, the youngest player at Muirfield this week, ended up making it with two shots to spare to boost his hopes of making this year's Walker Cup team against the USA at Southampton, New York in September.

"I needed a good week," admitted the youngster from the Hallamshire.

"And this has certainly given me the confidence that I can compete.

"The big thing for me was playing with two such nice guys as the two Americans I was paired with, Jordan Spieth and Russell Henley.

"Players don't come across very well in the media and that's not right. But they couldn't have been nicer."

As for Willett, resuming on four-over after his first-round 75, he dropped a further shot at the second before getting it back with a birdie at nine, only to then bogey the 10th.

Willett then returned to level for the day with a birdie at 16 before finding a fairway bunker to drop a shot at the last.

When he completed his round, he too was way down the field, tied on 87th, looking like it might have cost him his place in the weekend rounds, but scores throughout the day eased him through, ultimately in some comfort.

"The greens were better," Willett told BBC Radio Sheffield. "A lot slower. But I just putted poorly again. And, after finishing 6-6 on Thursday, I've finished 5-5 today. That's not good enough.

"I've had a frustrating year with a back injury, but my game's not far away.

"I just needed to make the cut this week to give myself a chance to make the USPGA, or it could mean having the next four or five weeks off."

Fitzpatrick is paired in the third round with American Bo Van Pelt at 10:15 BST, while Willett goes out almost two hours later at 12:00 BST with Australian Marcus Fraser.