GUIDONIA MONTECELIO (Italy) — Matt Fitzpatrick, the U.S. Open champion, was unable to stop the wind at the Italian Open.
Fitzpatrick will enter the final round leading and will be aiming for a better result than three years back. Fitzpatrick overcame challenging conditions on Saturday and posted a stunning 2-under-69 to win the tournament and move clear of Rory McIlroy & Aaron Rai.
Fitzpatrick, who won his first major title in June at Brookline is playing the Italian Open. He was second in 2019.
It would signify the entire world. [to win], Fitzpatrick said.
After three birdies in his back nine, he moves to 10-under-203 and takes a one shot lead into the final round at Marco Simone Club outside Rome.
Fitzpatrick stated that the wind switched on nine, and the course had changed completely. It was a wind that we hadnt played in all week. I felt like if you could just hold on and avoid the bogeys, you would be in a good place. I managed to pick up a few [birdies]on the back nine. We are thrilled to be taking the lead tomorrow.
Halfway leader McIlroy started day one a shot ahead Ryder Cup teammate Fitzpatrick, but struggled in wind and hit three pars. He managed to salvage his round and possibly his tournament by finishing with a birdie, which was his third of the day.
McIlroy stated that he struggled with the putter throughout the day, but that he was unable to commit to readings and play the wind.
Sorta thankfully, Im still involved in it. Only one shot left. Tomorrow is the last group. I think Ill make it. So that was a big putt at 18 to hole so I can keep an ear on Fitz and his activities.
McIlroy is playing in Italy as a pro to get familiar with the course that will host the Ryder Cup next season.
Rai was able to climb the leaderboard thanks to two eagles, who scored a perfect 65. He was six shots behind the lead at the start of round 6.
American golfer Kurt Kitayama (67), Victor Perez (69), Frances Victor Perez (79) and Lucas Herbert (68), were tied for fourth on 8 under.
Luke Donald, Europes captain of the sea, suffered more misery.
Donald, who was wrong balled during his round on the previous day, made seven birdies to post a 5-over 75 and leave him with 10 shots in front.
Next year, Marco Simone will be the third European venue to host Ryder Cup after Valderrama (1997) in Spain and Le Golf National (2018) in France.