Tommy Fleetwood has admitted it would be a dream come true to end England’s long winless drought in the Open this weekend and, in so doing, become a major champion for the first time.
Fleetwood shot a sublime 65 to come within two shots of matching his own course record at Carnoustie. Even more significantly, he improved his score from one-over after round one to five-under and (at the time of writing) one shot off the lead at the halfway stage.
That has given the Southport man a legitimate chance of making his major breakthrough this weekend and ending 23 years of hurt for English golfers in golf’s oldest professional tournament.
“If I could pick one tournament in my life to win, it’d be the Open,” he said after his round. “I’ve never been anywhere near it before. It would be something to have in my career that would be amazing by the time I’m done.”
Expectations are high for Fleetwood, particularly after his impressive performance at last month’s US Open. He carded a record-equalling 63 in the final round at Shinnecock Hills to finish second in the self-styled “toughest test in golf” for the second year running.
As a result, many are backing him to go one better this week at Carnoustie, widely regarded as the most strenuous challenge on the Open rota.
Just as well he’s fine with that.
“You have to learn to manage expectations it,” he said. “It’s something you get used to but it’s much nicer than having no eyes on you at all.
“But we’re only halfway through the tournament. Thirty-six holes is a long time. It’s two days. This round has got me back into it. I’m just going to keep doing the same things. If I can hit it like I did today, I’m going to have a lot of chances over the weekend and we’ll see where that takes me."