Jeremy Ellwood catches up with 2014 Q School graduate and 2013 US Amateur Champion Matt Fitzpatrick at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Back in 2013, we were just about to run an article on Matt Fitzpatrick after visiting Hallamshire, his home club in Sheffield, to meet the people who had been influential in his early days. Matt was heading off to Uni in the States on a scholarship and would be thinking about turning pro after that. The day before we went to press, word came through that there had been a change of plan, and that he would be returning home to turn pro immediately. Cue hasty rewrite!

When I spoke to him on the eve of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, I quizzed him about that change of plan and his excellent top five finish in South Africa the previous week…

What sparked the change of mind about university?

It was just the opportunities that I had. Winning the US Amateur opened loads of different doors and it was difficult to turn them down really.

You weren’t enjoying the studies?

No, I loved it – I absolutely loved it in the States. There were no complaints whatsoever on that front.

What was Q School like for you?

It was good. It was long though – it’s a long week and it’s tough, but it was great to get through. I played really well and was really pleased. It was nerve-wracking but I just tried to take one shot at a time and do as well as I could.

Do you know how many starts you’re likely to get this year?

I’ve not really had a look to be honest so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Last week was a pretty good start though – right in the thick of it?

Yes, it was! It was great and I absolutely loved it – a great experience and I learned a lot. I hope I can do it again soon.

Matt running into trouble on the 13th hole during the final round in South Africa

Matt running into trouble on the 13th hole during the final round in South Africa

I noticed a five-shot turnaround on the par-5 13th between Saturday and Sunday (eagle then treble!). What happened there?

It was a bit of an unlucky bounce that sent it through the green. I took a drop, messed about a little bit and then chipped it into the water. Just one of those things really!