Bogey-free Fleetwood in Open hunt

Updated: 03/06/2023


World number 20 Tommy Fleetwood (12/1 – Open Outright) says he was happy with a “very consistent” performance on day one of The 2019 Open after putting himself right in early contention for the famous Claret Jug.

Englishman Fleetwood, who was struggling to rediscover his best form ahead of the event at Royal Portrush, handled the changing weather conditions in Northern Ireland well to fire a blemish-free round of 68.

The 28-year-old, who has never recorded a top-10 Open finish from his previous five appearances, recorded birdies at the third, seventh and 13th holes to move into early contention.

Fleetwood is joined on -3 by the likes of compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, world number one Brooks Koepka (4/1 JF), Spaniard Sergio Garcia (28/1) and Sweden’s Alex Noren (45/1).

The four-time European Tour winner will be out at 07:52am on Friday for his second round, playing alongside US star Justin Thomas and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, and the trio could get the better weather conditions with rain expected to come later on.

Speaking about his performance on day one, Fleetwood says it was pleasing not to make a single bogey and he was especially delighted with his display off the tee.

“I hit it well. I was very consistent. I think off the tee I did a good job,” he told Sky Sports. “I was always in play pretty much and that’s obviously vital. The rough out here is pretty thick. As soon as you hit a bad tee shot you’re generally going to be hacking out.

“In terms of the bogey-free, which is the best part about the day, I made it very stress-free. It wasn’t like I was grinding out and getting loads up-and-downs.”

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy’s Open hopes look all-but over after he carded an eight-over-par 79 and he admits his performance, which started with an eight on the first hole, was dreadful.

It’s just one of those days,” he said. “I didn’t hit it well enough, I didn’t hit it in the right positions and put myself behind the eight-ball from the start.

“I thought if I could have got home in two over for the day I would’ve still been in the tournament, but the finish sort of derailed that. It was a tough day, a rough start and a rough finish and it added up to a pretty dreadful score.”

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