It was a thrilling Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, as reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick dueled defending event champ Jordan Spieth past the standard 72 holes of the RBC Heritage. Fitzpatrick finally prevailed on the third hole of the playoff after hitting a spectacular second shot on the famous “lighthouse hole” No. 18.
Fitzpatrick opened the day with a one-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay and was two clear of Spieth, but after a birdie on the 15th hole, Spieth took a one-shot lead. Fitzpatrick then birdied No. 16 to even things back up, and both men parred the final two holes.
Spieth nearly won on the first playoff hole (which was contested on 18). He felt so good about his birdie putt that the defending champion already raised his putter in a token of victory, but the ball caught the edge of the cup and spun out. Spieth also missed a 9-footer for the win on the second playoff hole (No. 17).
That opened the door for Fitzpatrick to stick his approach shot within a foot of the cup when the duo played 18 for the third time in the day. Spieth’s birdie attempt was from 26 feet, and the miss gave Fitzpatrick his second-career win and first since the major last June.
“It’s hard to describe,” Fitzpatrick said. “It doesn’t get better than this.”
The reason he said it doesn’t get better than this is that he had traveled to Hilton Head Island many times as a child on family vacations from England. Ever since then, he dreamed of winning this tournament.
“I think I can retire now,” laughed Fitzpatrick after the win. “This is the one that I’ve always wanted to win. (Besides the majors) there isn’t a higher one on my list and that’s the truth.”
With this tournament elevated to a Designated Event on the PGA Tour for 2023, Fitzpatrick earned a $3.6 million paycheck for winning. Spieth earned $2.18 million as runner-up, which was around $750,000 more than he earned by winning the event last year.
Spieth, who beat Cantlay in a playoff in 2022, said he played “way better than last year” but credited Fitzpatrick for making his strong approach shots.
Cantlay also contended for the win this year, but his 68 on Sunday led to an event total of a 16-under 267, which was one shot short of making it a three-way playoff. Xander Schauffele was fourth at -15 after shooting a 66 in the final round. Sahith Theegala and Hayden Buckley were tied for fifth.
Sungjae Im, Brian Harman, Cam Davis, and Emiliano Grillo tied for seventh at -13.
Cantlay and Schauffele will take their top-five finishes this week and head to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic. This is the only FedEx Cup points event that is conducted in a team format, and Cantlay and Schauffele return as the defending champions. Last year’s runner-up tandem of Sam Burns and Billy Horschel will also be pairing up again this year. Fitzpatrick will be teaming up with his brother, Alex, who received a sponsor exemption.