HOYLAKE, England — Englishman Tommy Fleetwood figures he’s imagined successful the British Open in his homeland 1,000,000 instances.
“Successful a serious is a dream, or successful the Open is a large, big dream,” he mentioned. “For certain I’ve pictured it so much and visualized it so much; simply haven’t achieved it but in particular person, in order that’s hopefully the subsequent factor.”
Fleetwood is off to a stellar begin on the 151st British Open as he tries to make his dream come true. On Thursday, the 32-year-old Fleetwood fired a 5-under 66 at Royal Liverpool Golf Membership to share the opening-round lead with South African beginner Christo Lamprecht and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo.
Fleetwood has been stricken by gradual begins, recording solely 5 rounds within the 60s to start out his week this season on the PGA Tour. It provides as much as a first-round scoring common of 70.38, which ranks a dismal 72nd general. Requested if this was certainly one of his most satisfying begins at a serious, Fleetwood didn’t hesitate to nod within the affirmative.
“One in all, for certain,” he mentioned. “Only a mixture of all the things actually. One of many issues that we’ve mentioned this week is what an incredible time it’s for us to be out on the golf course with that assist, enjoying in an Open. It’s very, very particular.”
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Bathed in wonderful sunshine that made his rock-star hair glisten, Fleetwood sandwiched birdies at Nos. 5 and seven round his lone bogey of the day on the sixth. Out in 34, he tacked on a birdie on the eleventh after which reeled off three straight birdies beginning on the 14th.
Fleetwood has been an image of consistency this season – notching six top-10 finishes, together with shedding in a playoff on the RBC Canadian Open, a T-5 on the U.S. Open in June and T-6 final week on the Genesis Scottish Open.
“It’s a lot better having good outcomes than getting kicked within the tooth on a regular basis once you really feel such as you’re working so arduous and also you’re doing the appropriate issues,” Fleetwood mentioned. “I feel good outcomes all the time spur you on and so they provide the confidence to maintain pushing on and doing these issues.”
What has eluded Fleetwood is victory — he’s nonetheless winless on the PGA Tour and for the reason that begin of the 2017-18 season has the second-most prime 10s of any participant and not using a win in that span with 26. (Brian Harman with 29 leads this doubtful distinction.) To listen to Fleetwood inform it, he simply must proceed to be affected person and belief in what he’s doing.
“There’s instances the place it might go both method, and it hasn’t gone my method but,” Fleetwood mentioned. “It’ll be my flip quickly.”
He’s had his share of probabilities at majors, together with on the British Open, the place he completed second to Shane Lowry in 2019. All instructed, he’s recorded six top-fives in majors, together with a runner-up end on the 2018 U.S. Open. Fleetwood, born and bred in Southport, England, is bidding to develop into the primary Englishman to win the British Open since Nick Faldo in 1992. Fleetwood considers Royal Liverpool to be “hallowed turf,” a hyperlinks the place certainly one of his closest associates as child was a member and he had the possibility to play it every now and then. He’ll have loads of assist to win on house soil from a partisan crowd, who’ve been cheering heartily for his or her “Tommy Lad.”
“I’ll all the time be a northwest boy, and to have so many individuals on the market from the realm supporting is absolutely, actually nice,” Fleetwood mentioned. “You’ll be able to simply put an excessive amount of strain on your self. You’ll be able to simply attempt too arduous. However simply having that assist and other people egging you on, whether or not you’ve hit a great shot or a foul shot, good gap, unhealthy gap. Yeah, simply pushes you on…having the chance to do it so near the place you grew up is one thing that’s very distinctive and really particular.”