Fitzpatrick brothers shoot up the leaderboard

HOYLAKE, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Matt Fitzpatrick of England and Alex Fitzpatrick of England pose for a picture during a practice round prior to The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on July 18, 2023 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Matt Fitzpatrick of England and Alex Fitzpatrick of England pose for a picture during a practice round prior to The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on July 18, 2023 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

In 2013, then 18-year-old Matthew Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Amateur. Carrying his bag was his 14-year-old brother, Alex.

Ten years later, the Fitzpatrick brothers are both near the top of the leaderboard at the British Open, though it’s the younger of the two who holds the advantage.

Alex Fitzpatrick, who had to qualify just to get in, fired a 6-under 65 Saturday, which included a birdie on the 18th, to move into a tie for fourth. Matthew was already in the clubhouse with a 4-under 67 that put him in a tie for 13th.

Brothers at The Open are not common, but also not rare, either. This year’s Open actually features a pair of brothers, with Denmark’s Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard joining the Fitzpatricks. Nicolai is currently in the top 10, while Rasmus missed the cut.

There have been others over the years: Seve and Manuel Ballesteros, Tateo and Naomichi Ozaki, and of course Harry and Tom Vardon, who finished 1-2 at the 1903 Open.

The Fitzpatricks grew up in Sheffield, England, with both coming to the United States to play golf in college — Matthew at Northwestern, Alex at Georgia Tech. Matthew’s time in Evanston, Illinois, was short lived, as he turned pro less than a year later. From there, his career took off, culminating with his victory at last year’s U.S. Open.

As the ninth-ranked player in the world, major qualifications are a given for the older Fitzpatrick, who has competed in 25 of them. For Alex, who’s ranked 561 in the world, qualifying for this year’s Open was the only way in. He did so with shots like this:

And now he’s making the most of his first ever major appearance, including bettering his older brother so far.