Sam Torrance: Lionheart Matthew Fitzpatrick has already learned how to win and he's only 23

 
Sam Torrance
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Omega European Masters - Day Four
Fitzpatrick, 23, claimed his fourth European Tour title on Sunday (Source: Getty)

I was playing alongside Tom Watson at the Open Championship during the 1980s when I asked him what drove him to keep on winning these great championships. “Learning to win early on,” was Watson’s response.

It is an incredible asset to have and, in light of him claiming a fourth European Tour title while still only 23, one that I think is shared by young Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick.

When they are in contention at a tournament, proven winners know they can get past the post. It makes a huge difference to confidence, not least in play-offs such as the one won by Fitzpatrick in Switzerland on Sunday.

Read more: Title is just start for Matt Fitzpatrick

I’m a huge fan of Fitzpatrick. His playing style is similar to fellow countryman and former world No1 Luke Donald, but what makes him stand out is his tenacity and desire. He has the heart of a lion.

I spent time in his company at the Ryder Cup last year, when he was part of the European team, and he is a great kid. He’s fun but not in an extroverted way like Ian Poulter.

A Yorkshireman, he is a very hard worker and very down to earth. He is softly spoken but with a brightness is his eyes that tells you he is ready to go and do his job.

Fitzpatrick has already improved in the short time he has been on the professional circuit and that was evident on his way to victory at the European Masters at Crans Montana.

He loves to fade the ball and there are few harder holes for players like him than the 18th at Crans, where the fairway slopes severely left to right towards bunkers

He managed to hit it heavy but draw it beautifully and set himself up for a seven iron from the fairway. It just showed that he has become more accomplished and gained self-belief with each passing year.

Omega European Masters - Day Four
Fitzpatrick's playing of the 18th hole at Crans Montana illustrated his development (Source: Getty)

Qualifying for the Ryder Cup again next year will be Fitzpatrick’s aim now and, beyond that, winning the Race To Dubai and Majors.

He knows that’s what he wants to do but he won’t broadcast it; he’ll just concentrate on playing his best everywhere he goes and let things unfold.

Hatton shines

Tyrrell Hatton, another English rising star, also deserves praise for a good performance in Switzerland.

His final round of 66 earned him a tie for third place and a strong start to his bid to make the Ryder Cup, which he will be desperate to do.

Sympathy for Hend

I had to feel a little sorry for Scott Hend, who Fitzpatrick beat in the play-off when they replayed the 18th for as third time.

The Australian missed a four-and-a-half foot putt to win as he lost a play-off there for the second year running.

That said, it was another good week for a player who has transformed his career in his late 30s and early 40s. Hend will be back next year hoping to make it third time lucky.

Read more: Sam Torrance: Open win has reignited Spieth-McIlroy rivalry

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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