The English duo, who both currently occupy automatic spots in Darren Clarke’s European team with under four weeks until the qualification campaign comes to an end, eased into the second round of the knock-out competition at Archerfield on Scotland’s east coast.
Fitzpatrick had arguably the toughest first round examination of them all as he went up against Clarke’s vice captain, Thomas Bjørn, but the 21 year old British Masters and Nordea Masters champion produced some of his best golf of the year to take down the Dane 4&3, while Wood overcame Australian Brett Rumford by the same margin.
“I didn’t expect to be in this position 12 months ago – I’ve got to be honest about that. It’s all happened so fast, and I think it’s difficult. I’m only 21 still, and don’t know many 21 year olds other than Jordan Spieth that have had to deal with stuff like this.
“It’s all new to me but at the same time, I have got high expectations, and I know where I want to get to. And hopefully we’ll get there eventually, but maybe just take a bit more time and not be so hard on myself.
“It’s an exciting time obviously – there’s The Ryder Cup, there’s The Race to Dubai, and defending the British Masters, as well. So, there’s some big things to come and at the same time, I’m very excited for a rest, as well!”, said Matt Fitzpatrick.
“I’m very pleased to beat Brett. He’s a nice player and when I saw the draw, I thought, that’s a tricky game because he has got such a great short game that he’ll never feel like he’s out of the hole. It’s good to win your first game obviously. Just try and get a little bit of momentum in the tournament now and hopefully go quite far.”, said Chris Wood.
With 32 matches spread across Archerfield, there were some brilliant displays of golf throughout the day. The tournament host, Paul Lawrie, overcame Lucas Bjerregaard 4&2, while Lawrie’s countryman Richie Ramsay took the scalp of David Howell on the 18th to win 1-up.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open champion Alex Noren eased past Scotland’s Scott Jamieson 5&4, while another Scot, Stephen Gallacher, had a disappointing return from injury as he came up against a red-hot Renato Paratore who putted magnificently to post the biggest victory of the day of 7&6.
While Paratore and Gallacher completed only 12 holes, Oli Fisher took another 10 holes to eventually overcome American Peter Uihlein in sudden-death.
With powerful winds forecast for Sunday at Archerfield, tournament organisers have decided to play both the second and third rounds tomorrow (Friday), with the quarter-finals and semi-finals to take place on Saturday and the final and 3rd/4th play-off matches scheduled for Sunday.
European Tour Release