It’s a beautiful day at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course unless you’re Matt Fitzpatrick’s scorecard.
When Fitzpatrick, who tracks his every shot, reviews his first round at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, he’s going to be none too happy when he gets to the par-4, 417-yard third hole. That’s where he made a nine.
Fitzpatrick started with a birdie at the first hole, but the nightmare at the third started on the tee shot, where his ball headed left and deep into the trees. Fitzpatrick reloaded and hit a beauty. But when he got down there, it turned out a fan located a ball that may have been Fitzpatrick’s. He didn’t want to check it and called a rules official to ask if he had to look at the ball. He was told he had to, and unfortunately it was Fitzpatrick’s ball. It was out of bounds, which meant he could no longer play his provisional and had to do the walk of shame back to the tee and re-tee, hitting three.
To make matters worse, Fitzpatrick, the reigning U.S. Open champion, hit his next shot into the lake. He dropped and missed the green with his fifth shot and needed two more chips to reach the putting surface. He missed a 13-footer for a snowman and tapped in for nine, a quintuple bogey.
Fitzpatrick went on to bogey the next two holes, too. Snakebit on Thursday and he hadn’t event reached the Snake Pit (holes 16-18) yet.
It’s been a tough stretch for Fitzpatrick, No. 13 in the world, who missed the cut last week at the Players Championship, and has dug himself a hole that could lead to his third missed cut in four starts unless he gets his act together.