US Open: Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood excited for weekend challenge
Tommy Fleetwood from Southport continued to shine on his US open debut as he claimed a share of the halfway lead with a second-round 70 at Erin Hills.
Fleetwood had opened with a bogey-free 67 in his opening round, but he got off to a rocky start on Friday as he found the thick rough from the tee at the first and that led to a scrappy bogey-six.
|US Open round two leaderboard, Erin Hills|
|-7 P Casey (Eng), T Fleetwood (Eng), B Harman (US), B Koepka (US); -6 J Lovemark (US), R Fowler (US), JB Holmes (US)
|Selected: -5 S Kim (Kor), H Matsuyama (Jpn), C Champ (US)*; –3 S Garcia (Spa), M Kaymer (Ger); -2 A Johnston (Eng); -1 E Pepperell (Eng), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), M Laird (Sco); Level L Westwood (Eng), J Spieth (US); +1 S Lowry (Ire); +2 R Ramsey (Sco), J Rose (Eng), R Fisher (Eng); +3 C Wood (Eng), A Scott (Aus); +4 D Johnson (US); +5 R McIlroy (NI), J Rahm (Spa), G McDowell (NI), R Knox (Sco); +10 J Day (Aus)|
But he steadied himself with good par saves at the next two holes before holing from 15 feet for birdie at the fourth and, after another scrambled par save at the sixth, he pitched to a foot at the long seventh to set up his second gain.
The young Southport lad got another good putt to drop for birdie at the 12th, and a blocked approach to the 17th green led to another bogey before he got the shot back with an excellent four at the last.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Fleetwood said: “It’s going to be great. I’ve never done this before, I’ve never played a US Open, so it will be a very cool experience. It’s still Saturday, 36 holes is a very long time in a US Open and anything can happen.
“There are always ups and downs out there, but I think with how long the course is and how long the days are, I’m sure I won’t worry. The fairways are quite forgiving, but as soon as you get a little bit off line and get out of position, that’s when the course is going to bite you.
“But early on today when I hit off my game, I putted well and that sure helped me out. That could have been a great start of the round really. I made a great up-and-down on two and I had two great shots for birdie. So I switched it around and it’s a very different feel after the first few holes.”
Fleetwood endured a dip in form last year before reviving his form when he returned to his former coach, Alan Thompson, a move that soon reaped rewards when he won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
“I went back to my old coach and had one of my best mates caddieing,” he added. “I think that can’t be underestimated having your friend with you, whether you’re in leading the US Open or anywhere. It’s always nice to walk up the 18th with your best mate.
“I think those two things and a lot of hard work, really. I think it’s easy to lose track, it’s very easy to take off on your own path and, before you know it, you’re too far down there and it’s a long way back. We had to come back sooner than I thought, so that’s been nice really.”