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Friday, 30 September 2011
Tommy Fleetwood  (Getty Images)
Tommy Fleetwood (Getty Images)
England's Tommy Fleetwood is on target to complete one of the most unlikely doubles in golf after claiming a share of the lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Fleetwood won the Kazakhstan Open earlier this month, with the first prize of €64,000 taking him top of The Challenge Tour rankings and securing his place on The European Tour for 2012.

But the 20 year old can win almost ten times that amount with victory at St Andrews on Sunday after storming into contention with a superb 63 at Kingsbarns.

Fleetwood, a former Walker Cup player and English Amateur Champion, carded nine birdies and no bogeys to finish 12 under par, sharing top spot on the leaderboard with Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey, who shot 66 at the same venue.

"It feels pretty good," Fleetwood said. "It's pretty unexpected to be honest. Just to get the invite and the experience of playing here is great.

"I didn't hit it very well yesterday but I holed good putts on the first three or four holes today and didn't really look back. I learn every time I play at the moment.

"The last couple of weeks I've had no pressure on me really. I know where I'm playing next year, which is great, and it's definitely given me confidence because there was a bit of thought of 'Can I win?' because I had been in there so many times.

"I finally got it done, so let's see if I can do it on the bigger stage now."

Asked about the prospect of battling some of the game's biggest names over the weekend - five of the world's top six are in the field - Fleetwood added: "It's pretty cool.

"I've watched it on TV for years and pretty much analyse everything they do, try to learn off them, and obviously my name is in pretty good company right now.

"Hopefully I can shoot a decent score at Carnoustie tomorrow and then play with somebody like Martin Kaymer or Lee Westwood. That would be really cool."

Hoey is another former Walker Cup player - he was on the winning side along with World Number One Luke Donald in 2001 - and is seeking his second European Tour win of the year this weekend.

"I've always enjoyed this pro-am format," the 32 year old said. "A couple of years ago I was tied for the lead after two rounds. It's slow, but it really takes your mind off stuff between shots."

Former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, who lifted The Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010, is one off the lead after adding a 67 at Carnoustie to his opening 66 at Kingsbarns.

That means the 28 year old now has two rounds left over The Old Course to try to claim a second victory at The Home of Golf.

However, Oosthuizen will have his work cut out, with 25 players within five shots of the lead going into the final two rounds.

Former US Open Champion Graeme McDowell completed a second consecutive 67 to lie two shots back on ten under, alongside Australian Daniel Gaunt, Scotland's Marc Warren, Austria's Markus Brier and South African Jaco van Zyl.

Defending champion Martin Kaymer (67) is a shot further behind after dropping two shots in his last three holes at Carnoustie, with Lee Westwood, US Open Champion Rory McIlroy and former amateur star Tom Lewis all on seven under.

Westwood also endured a disappointing finish at Carnoustie, dropping shots at the 17th and 18th in his round of 69, while McIlroy drove into the Barry Burn on the 17th to drop his only shot of the day in a 67.

Donald, attempting to become the first man to top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season, looked set to be in contention until dropping four shots in the last four holes, including driving into the Barry Burn on the 18th to run up a double-bogey six.

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