Year in review: Merseyside’s golfing stars

2021 has been an exciting year in world golf.

Hideki Matsuyama became the first Asian-born golfer to win the Masters.

Phil Mickelson cemented his legendary career with the oldest major win at the PGA Championship.

And Jon Rahm became the first US Open champion from Spain.

However, how did Merseyside’s brightest golfing stars fair and have they achieved this year?

Tommy Fleetwood

The Southport-born man had a promising start to 2021 as he finished T7 in the season opener in Abu Dhabi before claiming T17 a week later in the Dubai Desert Classic.

Although he secured a top ten finish (T10) in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Fleetwood would soon go on a barren run which included being cut from three of his next five events, including the PGA Championship after finishing 8 over par.

Fleetwood in full swing. Credit: Tommyfleetwood.com
Fleetwood in full swing. Credit: Tommyfleetwood.com

He finished outside the top 30 of all four majors this season, with his next best finish after Arnold Palmer a brilliant T2 at the Italian Open in September.

This was followed up with two further top ten finishes, with a T7 at both the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the Zozo Championship in Japan.

Fleetwood will go into 2022 hoping for a less inconsistent season on the PGA Tour after falling 23 places in the world rankings since the end of the 2020 season, admitting he’s “one who has struggled a bit” in 2021.

Lee Slattery

Hailing from the same club as Fleetwood – the Park Golf Club in Southport – Lee Slattery competes on the European Tour.

Slattery competed in 18 events this year compared to his haul of 12  in 2020, and showed signs of his previous success which saw him scoop up two European Tour wins.

Slattery mid shot at the French Open. Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0
Slattery mid shot at the French Open. Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0

A superb T13 (8 under par) at the Omega European Masters was the highlight of his season.

But he also finished a respectable T20 at the Kenya Savannah Classic in March.

Another notable finish was a T38 at Fairmont St Andrews during the English Open.

Slattery will take confidence from some of his 2021 performances but will be looking to recapture the form that saw him be one of the best on the European Tour.

Matthew Baldwin

Competing on the Challenge Tour – European Tour’s second division – Baldwin had a reduced schedule for the 2021 season.

Competing in only 11 events, more than half (6) resulted in the man from Southport being cut from the events.

However, the one-time Challenge Tour winner at times played some great golf leading to a wonderful T7 finish at the D+D Real Czech Masters in August.

Baldwin opening up off the tee at the French Open. Credit: Cyrille Bertin
Baldwin opening up off the tee at the French Open. Credit: Cyrille Bertin

This followed on from a respectable T26 at the BMW International Open in June, Baldwin shooting a composed 2 under par in a field alongside the likes of Martin Kaymer and Viktor Hovland.

A limited 2021 season would have impacted Baldwin’s rhythm on the Challenge circuit.

But if he can aim for a more consistent 2022 season, then the sky is the limit for the third of Merseyside’s golfing giants.

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