Brothers in arms
For second time this year, Fitzpatrick brothers have chance to pull off historic sibling feat
Matt Fitzpatrick reacts to a putt on the 15th hole during the third round of the Hero World Challenge.
In October, sibling history was made in pro golf when Min Woo Lee and Minjee Lee became the first brother and sister to win on major golf tours in back-to-back weeks. Min Woo went wire-to-wire in capturing the Asian Tour’s Macau Open, and seven days later, Minjee prevailed in a BMW Ladies Championship playoff for her 10th LPGA victory.
It was a huge cause for celebration for the athletes from Down Under.
Incredibly, it was looking like the Lees might be able to pull off a greater feat in the SAME week in their home country, with both contending into the weekend of the Australian Open that is holding concurrent events for the men and women. But while Min Woo Lee is tied for the lead heading into the final round on Saturday night (U.S. time), Minjee is a long shot, placed seven shots behind Ashleigh Buhai.
That doesn’t mean another remarkable sibling feat can’t happen on Sunday.
The Fitzpatrick brothers—U.S. Open winner Matt and his younger brother Alex—are well in contention in the respective tournaments in the Bahamas and Australia, and though the Hero World Challenge is not an “official” PGA Tour event, they have a chance at a nice piece of history: According to the PGA Tour, no set of brothers has won on the same Sunday on two of the biggest tours in the world.
With a Saturday 65 that matches the best score of the week, Matt Fitzpatrick is solo second and trails leader Scottie Scheffler, who also shot 65 and stands at 16 under, by three shots heading into the final round of the 20-player Hero at Albany Golf Course. Alex Fitzpatrick surged in the third round with a 66 and is only one shot off the lead of Lee and Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino in the DP World Tour’s Australian Open in Sydney.
As Matt noted on X (formerly Twitter) Saturday, this isn’t the first time this year they’ve had this opportunity. On Aug. 20, Matt lost by two shots to Viktor Hovland in the FedEx Cup Playoffs’ BMW Championship, while Alex was solo second in the DP World Tour’s ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland.
Matt, 29, suffered a double bogey in his Saturday Hero round, but the World No. 8 still managed the 65, thanks in part to the 46-foot bomb he made for eagle on the par-5 15th. To say the Englishman is relaxed this week would be an understatement. He’s got his fiancée and friends in tow and is calling this week a “vacation.”
“We’re having a good laugh,” said Fitzpatrick, whose only official win on the PGA Tour in 134 starts is the 2022 U.S. Open.
Alex, 24, has enjoyed an encouraging season, including a breakthrough victory on the Old World circuit’s second-level Challenge Tour in early August. After the Handa runner-up, he also posted a T-5 in the DP World’s European Masters and stands at No. 133 in the world. A victory would put him inside the top 100 for the first time.
Alex Fitzpatrick hits a shot during the third round of the Australian Open.
The younger Fitzpatrick is feeling a warmth from the Aussie gallery he didn’t quite expect.
“For some reason they took a warm liking to me,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m not sure why, but the support couldn’t be any better. I actually had a few local lads for some reason following round. The atmosphere’s incredible and hopefully a good day tomorrow and keep the fans happy.”
Min Woo Lee is trying to pull off his own impressive double. If he wins the Australian Open, on the heels of taking the Australian PGA, he could join the likes of Greg Norman and Peter Thomson as the seventh player to achieve the Aussie Double in the same year.