Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fleetwood Chases 'Amazing' Finish to His Unbelievable Year

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fleetwood Chases 'Amazing' Finish to His Unbelievable Year

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Jiminez

IT'S little wonder Tommy Fleetwood is floating on air after an unforgettable season yielding a career-best campaign, the prospect of an unlikely European money-list crown and the birth of his first child.

There were few signs of the remarkable successes that lay in store when the Southport professional ended a tough 2016 by finishing 41st on the order of merit.

Fleetwood was plagued by the driving yips midway through last season but sharing the spoils in two toe-to-toe confrontations with future world No1 Dustin Johnson at the start of this year sparked a huge turnaround.

Now, with only four tournaments to go in 2017 and holding a sizeable advantage of almost 800,000 points at the top of the money list, he is well placed to succeed Sweden's Henrik Stenson by winning the Race to Dubai title.

"You don't expect it to go as well as it has," the former world amateur No1 told Standard Sport ahead of this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. "You do set goals at the start of the year but it's been a good year, for sure.

"When you're in the middle of the year and going week by week you don't think of it much. But when you stop to think about it at this stage of the year, and you think of the hundreds of members on this tour, to think I've a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, it's just amazing. It would be such a big achievement."

The laid-back Fleetwood launched his season in spectacular fashion by eclipsing the big-hitting Johnson in Abu Dhabi. "He did well to get within one shot of me," said the Englishman, tongue firmly in cheek.

"It gave me a confidence boost. Then, when I went to Mexico in March and finished second to Dustin in a WGC event, that did just as much for my confidence.

"I also came fourth at the US Open. I think there have been two or three performances this season that have made a massive difference to my confidence. …

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