Before he gets the chance to have a holiday, England’s Alex Fitzpatrick has a huge opportunity – and challenge – ahead of him on Sunday.
With an outstanding round of 5-under 66 today, the DP World Tour player jumped to a tie for third at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open and a place in the final group at 12.45pm alongside joint leaders Min Woo Lee and Rikuya Hoshino.
Chasing the biggest win of his career and the first victory by an Englishman in the Australian Open since Lee Westwood in 1997, Fitzpatrick will give up a one-shot headstart, but carrying huge momentum after playing the back nine in just 30 shots in his third round thanks to four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 14th hole.
Ranked 133rd in the world, a win tomorrow would propel the 24-year-old from Yorkshire towards the top 100 for the first time.
Fitzpatrick is on his first visit to Australia and came with a goal to be in contention in at least one of the two Aussie majors. Last week, he fell a little short, ending up in a tie for 18th at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.
“Overall I’m extremely happy with the day and I guess that’s why they call it moving day,” he said.
“Hopefully you can drop a low one and get yourself in contention going on Sunday. Yeah, proud of myself for hanging in there and just sticking with my game and trusting myself.
“This is my last event of the year, kind of excited to have a little bit of time off. Hopefully a good round tomorrow and you never know.”
Fitzpatrick started 2023 on the secondary European Challenge Tour but has posted a string of good finishes in his DP World Tour starts, including a second in the ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Ireland and a tie for 17th at the Open Championship.
And although he’s far from home, he’s found plenty of support at The Australian and The Lakes this week.
“For some reason they took a warm liking to me,” Fitzpatrick said of the Sydney crowds.
“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.”