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Fitzpatrick brothers giving their parents some tough choices at The Open

Matt Fitzpatrick Alex Fitzpatrick Matt Fitzpatrick and Alex Fitzpatrick - The Canadian Press

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Two brothers teed off within an hour and a half of each other in the third round of the British Open.

For the parents of Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick, it might have been a case of split loyalties as they weighed up which of their sons to follow at Royal Liverpool on Saturday.

“I told them to go focus on him,” said Matt, the U.S. Open champion last year and the older of the siblings by four years. “That’s more important. This is my, what, ninth? So they’ve seen all nine of those.”

They were treated to quite the show by Alex, whose first Open — indeed, his first appearance at a major championship — is going better than he can ever have imagined.

He birdied three of his last four holes to shoot 6-under 65 and move into a tie for ninth place at Hoylake, a highly improbable scenario for a player ranked No. 561 and who has golfed in his brother’s shadow.

Alex’s score would have tied the record for the low score in 13 Opens to have been held at Royal Liverpool had Jon Rahm not shot 63 a half hour earlier.

“I’m not familiar with this environment and the amount of people out here,” said Alex, who plays on the second-tier Challenge Tour. “But me and my caddie had a great time and things went our way, which was super cool.”

Alex came through local qualifying this month to secure his spot at the Open and was 4-under par for the tournament — two shots ahead of Matt after his round of 67.

Some 552 places separate the English brothers in the world ranking.

“There will be no rivalry or anything like that,” Alex said, looking ahead to Sunday's final round. “We’re brothers at the end of the day as much as we’re golfers. I root for him, he roots for me. We’re both supporting each other, and we both want what’s best for each other.”

So who will the parents choose to follow on Sunday?

“I think they thought they’d choose me today, and it might be him tomorrow,” Alex said. “And that’s fine. No drama or anything.”

When the Open was last played at Hoylake — in 2014 — Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari both finished in the top 15.


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