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U.S. Amateur champ Matt Fitzpatrick leaving Northwestern

By Ryan Herrington

Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick's college career will be remembered as short, if not successful.

After enrolling as a freshman at Northwestern in September and posting three top-20 finishes in five fall starts—including sharing medalist honors at the Rod Myers Intercollegiate—the 19-year-old Englishman will not be returning to school this spring. Instead, he'll be pursuing "full-time" amateur golf, according to a press release issued by the school Jan. 9.

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"Based on the opportunities I have right now from a golf perspective, I feel it is important to dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S.," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick became the first Englishman since Harold Hilton in 1911 to win the Havemeyer Trophy last August, defeating Australia's Oliver Goss, 4 and 3, in the final at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. The victory, coupled with earning low amateur honors a month earlier at the British Open, propelled him to the No. 1 spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and earned him the Mark McCormack Medal as the top amateur for 2013.

Fitzpatrick's triumph at Brookline secured him spots into this year's Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. Additionally, he is likely to receive sponsor's exemptions into events on both the PGA and European Tour.

In the release, Northwestern men's coach Pat Goss was diplomatic about his squad's loss.

"Matt is a bright and talented young man who has an incredible future ahead of him in the game of golf," Goss said. "We wish him nothing but the best in his career."

With Fitzpatrick's 71.73 stroke average—second to Jack Perry's 71.56—the Wildcats won two team titles this fall.

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