By Andrew Both
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Matthew Fitzpatrick ended his first U.S. Open with a loud splash on Sunday by finishing as the best amateur, though that is not quite as impressive an achievement as it might sound.
Englishman Fitzpatrick was the only amateur to make the cut on Pinehurst's No. 2 Course, with the other nine who started the year's second major all being eliminated after 36 holes.
"I feel like I could have done better maybe if I would have holed a few more (putts)," the 19-year-old lamented to reporters after shooting a one-under-par 69 to finish at 11-over 291.
"It's been a great week. My aim was to win the low amateur, and to achieve it is pretty pleasing."
The U.S. Open at Pinehurst was the swansong of Fitzpatrick's amateur career.
He used the event as a "warm-up" for his professional debut at the Irish Open, starting on Thursday, and says his goal is to earn enough money over the rest of the season to gain his European Tour card for next year.
Fitzpatrick has had invitations to half a dozen tournaments and should not have much trouble gaining several more, given his status as the 2013 U.S. Amateur champion and his undoubted ability.
"I think if I would have missed the cut by a mile, it (would have been) tough to then go to my first pro event not playing very well," said the baby-faced teenager from Sheffield.
"Four rounds of competitive golf is always a positive. The other day I said 'warm-up' about the U.S. Open. Even though it's not quite a warm-up, it's a similar sort of thing, I guess."
One of the few mistakes Fitzpatrick made on Sunday was forgetting to turn off his mobile phone before he teed off.
"I realized as I came in (after the round), it's not switched off, so I didn't do a very good job," he smiled.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)