Great things were expected of Tommy Fleetwood when he shot to prominence at the 2010 English Challenge, and he has the perfect opportunity to fulfill that potential this week in the Rolex Trophy.
Just over 12 months ago, the 20 year old finished second to Daniel Gaunt at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club in Essex, disappointingly bogeying the last to finish one shot behind the Australian. He may have just missed out on becoming the fourth amateur winner in Challenge Tour history, but he laid down a marker; there was a new kid on the block.
He turned professional shortly afterwards and made his European Tour debut in the Czech Open on a sponsor’s invitation, making the cut and finishing 63rd. Indeed, he made the cut in every event until the end of the season, in two European Tour events and five on the Challenge Tour.
The Southport player finished 11th in the Kazakhstan Open and second in the Russian M2M Challenge Cup, earning enough prize money to ensure a full Challenge Tour category for 2011, and this season he has had three top tens to sit 35th in the current Rankings with €28,563.
While this season has perhaps not produced the same fireworks as last season, Fleetwood has shown flashes of his considerable talent – notably with a 63 in the third round of the Allianz Challenge de France, where he finished tenth, and a couple of 65s.
As an amateur he won the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the 2010 English Amateur, and finished second in the 2008 Amateur Championship.
Fleetwood admits he has had more second place finishes than he would have liked, but now has the perfect chance to win his first Challenge Tour title, having reached 13 under par at Geneva Golf Club to share the lead.
“I’ve been in this position a few times now and it would be nice to go one better,” he said. “If I can just keep putting the way I have been, I’ll be in with a good chance.”