It has been a season of both highs and lows for Tommy Fleetwood.
Should the season have ended two events earlier, the Southport-golfer would have most likely have reflected on a poor season with a desperate need to improve for next year.
That was not the reality. Fleetwood’s fantastic form in the Nedbank Golf Challenge saw him earn his first tour victory of the season, spectacularly beating Marcus Kinhult in a play-off. Just one week later, Fleetwood was one shot away from a Race to Dubai victory in the UAE, denied by an 18th hole birdie at the hands of the superb Jon Rahm.
Other positive season results, including a second place finish at The Open Championship, have seen Fleetwood secure a second place finish in the European Tour standings with a total of 5414.8 points across 18 tournaments.
A Slow Start
Honma Hong Kong Open T14 -7
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship T42 -5
Following a positively consistent close to the 2018 European Tour, finishing inside the top 10 in four of the last five events, Fleetwood’s start to this season did not follow the same trend. Despite a solid 72 holes in Hong Kong, he was way off the pace a month later in Abu Dhabi. Despite not shooting a round over par, two rounds of 72 meant that he was an eventual 13 shots behind winner, Shane Lowry.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic T16 -13
WGC Mexico Championship T19 -5
Despite his poor performance in Dubai, Fleetwood was hopeful that he would regain his consistency for which he is famed. Even though he was unable to make a challenge at the top of the leader board in either the Omega Dubai Desert Classic or the WGC Mexico Championship, he managed to solidify his place back inside the top 20.
THE MASTERS T36 -2
Betfred British Masters T8 -10
(hosted by Fleetwood)
US PGA Championship T48 +8
US Open T65 +6
148th Open Championship 2 -9
Fleetwood, who is yet to win his first major, came agonisingly close this summer in the whirlwind conditions of Royal Portrush. Had he been challenging anyone else other than seasoned Links expert Shane Lowry, then maybe the Southport man would have changed this fact. Unfortunately, for Fleetwood, this was the only major in which he made a serious challenge. Disappointing performances in The MASTERS, US PGA Championship and US Open meant that he will have to wait until at least next year to make another challenge.
A highlight for Fleetwood, however, is the hosting of the Betfred British Masters in May in his hometown of Southport. Hillside Golf Club played host for this event, with Marcus Kinhult the eventual winner.
Regaining usual form
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open T23 -7
WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational T4 -11
Omega European Masters T8 -12
Following his impressive performance in the Open Championship, Fleetwood preceded to card two consecutive top-ten performances in Tennessee and Switzerland. This was Tommy’s first challenge for the top of a European Tour leader board this season, finishing within touching distance of the leader on both occasions.
BMW PGA Championship T60 +3
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship T5 -19
WGC-HSBC Champions T53 +2
Hoping to build on his now impressive consistency, Fleetwood could not manage to continue his applied pressure for a tour win. He carded two over par performances in both the BMW PGA Championship and the WGC-HSBC Champions, his first time of doing so all season. These two performances would have been enough to worry Fleetwood, had it not been for his again inspired performance at Carnoustie, finishing within three shots of winner, Victor Perez.
Nedbank Golf Challenge 1 -12
DP World Tour Championship 2 -18
At this stage of the tour, with only two events left, Fleetwood found himself seemingly out of contention for the Race to Dubai Challenge. Tommy, however, keen not to follow the script, produced an outstanding for days of golf in the South African setting of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. A spectacular three eagles in his final round meant that Fleetwood was to face British Masters winner Marcus Kinhult in the play-off. A par beat Kinhult’s bogey and Tommy finally claimed his first tour win of the season.
Now ranked second in the Race to Dubai rankings, Fleetwood was in pole position to pounce on leader Wiesberger. Once again, Tommy left his best golf to the final day and carded a -7 65, including five birdies on the back nine. Unluckily, Jon Rahm birdied the 18th hole meaning Fleetwood’s heroics were in vain, as the Spaniard claimed the title.
Looking forward to the 2020 season, which begins in only this weekend in South Africa, Fleetwood will hope that he can claim his second Race to Dubai title in only four years. Despite up-and-down form over the years, Tommy has consistently challenged for the title and he will hope he can continue this.