Fleetwood seizes chance

England's Tommy Fleetwood in action in the second round of the DP World Tour Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai yesterday. He made up for his first-round score with a 65 to put himself back in the Race to Dubai contention.
England's Tommy Fleetwood in action in the second round of the DP World Tour Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai yesterday. He made up for his first-round score with a 65 to put himself back in the Race to Dubai contention.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Rose's final hole slip-up puts Race to Dubai leader back in hunt to be Europe's top golfer

DUBAI • Tommy Fleetwood regained control in the Race to Dubai, rebounding from his poor first round to shoot a seven-under 65 and also power back into the hunt for the DP World Tour Championship title yesterday.

Englishman Fleetwood, who went into the season-defining event at Dubai's Jumeirah Golf Estates course leading the race to be Europe's golfer of the year, shot eight birdies in his second round after his disappointing opening 73.

It meant he moved back into pole position at halfway after his nearest contender, compatriot Justin Rose, who had moved ahead of him in the projected rankings after the first round, slipped behind again, having bogeyed the last hole.

Fleetwood was delighted to get back on track to take the big prize.

"There's still a tournament and still a Race to Dubai to play for. I needed a low one today for both purposes," he said.

"So the sole focus was to try to get back into this event today."

Yet the battle for the US$1.25 million (S$1.69 million) season-long accolade remains too tight to call.

Rose's second-round 70 leaves him still two shots ahead of 11th-placed Fleetwood, but that final hole slip dropped him to joint third in the tournament.

The in-form Rose, who trails Fleetwood by 256,737 points in the race, needs to finish in the top two in Dubai and beat his compatriot to triumph.

"It's actually a tricky day to try to sum up," a perplexed Rose told Sky Sports afterwards.

"I drove the ball really, really well, which obviously set up an opportunity to shoot a really good score. I just felt like the putter really was the weakest link today.

"I had a really hard time reading the greens, that was what I found the hardest.

"(It) was a day that could have been better but for the putter."

The halfway pacesetter was another Englishman, Matthew Fitzpatrick, the defending DP World Tour champion who shot a second straight 67 to move on to 10-under, one clear of compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, who recorded a blistering best score of the day 63.

"I've got nothing to lose," Fitzpatrick said on the European Tour website (www.europeantour.com).

"I'm not trying to win the Race to Dubai, unfortunately. I'm just looking forward to the weekend and delighted that I could put myself in position."

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other contender in the Race, is a shot behind Fleetwood and three adrift of Rose after his 69.

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2017, with the headline 'Fleetwood seizes chance'. Print Edition | Subscribe