MX23RW : Thursday, November 15 19:41:05

Fleetwood proud to be in with a chance of winning Race to Dubai

Fleetwood proud to be in with a chance of winning Race to Dubai
© Reuters
The 27-year-old can close to within 41,000 points of Ryder Cup partner Francesco Molinari.

Tommy Fleetwood is proud to have the chance of retaining his status as European number one, even if his main rival is Ryder Cup partner Francesco Molinari.

Fleetwood and Molinari became the first European pair to win all four of their matches together in a Ryder Cup in Paris, with Open champion Molinari going on to make more history as the first European player to compile a perfect 5-0 record.

However, the duo are also rivals to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, with Fleetwood able to close to within 41,000 points of the absent Molinari by winning this week’s Turkish Airlines Open.

“It’s nice to get to the end of the year and still have things to play for,” Fleetwood said.

“But there’s still plenty to do and it really isn’t at the forefront of my mind. I would love to win, although I don’t think anybody would hold it against Fran if he was to walk away with the Race to Dubai.

“Winning the Race to Dubai is such a big achievement in your career. At the time it was the biggest thing I’ve ever done and still is. The one thing we wanted to do is make sure you didn’t just sit back and enjoy that; it was about using that as a springboard to improve this year and to move forward.

“I’ve had a lot of different things going on this year and it’s been my first year playing in America with a full (PGA Tour) card. So to get to this point and still have a chance, however small or big, it’s really nice and it just keeps you practising, keeps you working.

“It’s a completely different situation this year than last year where somebody else (Justin Rose) won the tournament to get quite close to me. I know a win is going to get me somewhere near Francesco, but there’s a lot of things that have to happen before that.

“I’ve been doing so many good things and the one thing that’s been missing is kind of putting four rounds together. That for now is my immediate thought, just keep doing the same things and hopefully I’ll be able to put it all together and win a tournament again.”

Fleetwood will again combine playing on the PGA Tour and European Tour next season, as well as enjoying the responsibility of hosting the British Masters at Hillside Golf Club in his home town of Southport.

It had been feared that the event would not take place after the end of a four-year sponsorship deal with Sky Sports, but Fleetwood will follow in the foosteps of Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Rose in acting as tournament host.

“It’s a massive honour to host the event,” the 27-year-old added. “We’ve been in talks for a little bit about maybe doing it in 2019 or 2020.

“I’m still a golf fan at the end of the day, so to actually be on the list of the names that have hosted it is very special for me. I am very proud of where I’m from, so to have it in my home town, on a great golf course, will be great.

“The tournament is a very historic event. It was actually my first ever European Tour event I played in when I was 17 as an amateur at The Belfry, so it’s got a few connections for me.

“It’s clearly a tricky time with the US PGA being the week after it, but I’m sure we’ll do everything we can to try to get the field that we’d like.”

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