Tommy Fleetwood looks primed to join golf's elite after Abu Dhabi win

Tommy Fleetwood (Getty Photographs)

Tommy Fleetwood entered this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Champions because the defending champion. After a 7-beneath sixty five Sunday in Spherical four, he’ll return subsequent yr the identical approach.

Already European Tour’s Race to Dubai Champion in 2017, Fleetwood added to his win complete Sunday by beating Ross Fisher by two strokes in Abu Dhabi. Fleetwood entered the ultimate spherical trailing by two strokes, however he had six birdies on the again 9 to win. 

Fleetwood entered 2017 ranked one centesimal on the planet, however after his newest win, he might transfer to twelfth. Pegged to turn into a star early in his profession, Fleetwood had been a tad disappointing. However he is now banging on the door behind the sport’s elite wanting to join the membership.

“The most important factor for us after final yr, I had had the yr of my life by an extended, great distance on the course, and every part we have achieved, all the things we have talked about, type of that month off was to be sure that we stored progressing, stored enhancing,” Fleetwood stated after his win.

“We type of actually needed to take a look at the yr like, you realize, if Justin Rose had shot degree par on that again 9 on Sunday in The Race to Dubai, then I would not have had The Race to Dubai event.

“So it was kind of essential to take a look at it that means; that perhaps attempt to show as for those who have been harm and also you had not had that entire euphoria of attaining one thing superb in your profession. So all of the apply has been excellent. Ready nicely final week. Had a terrific week in Malaysia, after which to type of validate your place of Race to Dubai Champion or Participant of the Yr so early on is actually kind of good and satisfying in a approach.”

Enjoying with a chip on his shoulder might assist Fleetwood earn a spot on his first Ryder Cup workforce this fall. Each the Europeans and the People boast robust groups, however the event returns to Europe this yr.

Certainly one of Fleetwood’s potential Ryder Cup teammates, Rory McIlroy, completed t-three this week, his first aggressive begin in over three months. Fleetwood was impressed with the 4-time main champion’s capacity to shake of the rust.

“He seemed nice. Swung it nice,” Fleetwood stated of McIlroy. “He hit it actually properly. Had management of his ball. I feel as golfers, everytime you’ve had an extended interval off, there’s all the time, you recognize, you all the time kind of plan for a little bit of rust. Not essentially the way you hit it, however simply the way you go about enjoying golf.

“Enjoying golf is an entire totally different talent in itself. I assumed he appeared nice. I feel he’ll win greater than as soon as this yr, simply. I feel he looks rather well. Yeah, it was good enjoying with him.”

Guys like Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas took the leap into elite standing final yr. Fleetwood now looks poised to construct off final season and contend for a prime-5 spot on the earth rating.