Sunday, 02 July 2017
Tommy Fleetwood and the trophy  (Getty Images)
Tommy Fleetwood and the trophy (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood moved to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex as he won the second Rolex Series event at the HNA Open de France.

The Englishman arrived at Le Golf National as one of the form players on the European Tour but with a poor record on the course that will host next year's Ryder Cup having never made the cut or even broken par in Paris.

He put that right in some style with a closing bogey-free 66 that gave him a 12 under par total and a one-shot victory over American Peter Uihlein.

For Uihlein there was the consolation of earning a spot at the Open Championship along with home favourite Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Swede Alexander Björk, who both finished in a share of third at eight under alongside Dane Thorbjørn Olesen.

The victory is Fleetwood's second of the season after the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the winner's cheque of 1,040,824.34 euros moves him above the season's only other multiple winner so far - Sergio Garcia - to the top of the European standings.

Fleetwood also has four other top fives this season including at the WGC - Mexico Championship and US Open Championship and this victory will move him into the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

"Today, it's a day that I'll never forget," he said. "The way I felt coming down the stretch, the holes and the shots you have to hit.

"Winning, it's the best feeling by far in golf and to do it on this golf course in this event, a Rolex Series event, just massive, massive bonuses.

"It's just been a great week from start to finish. Coming off the back of good golf, US Open and BMW in Germany, felt like I've been swinging it well. So it's good to put it into practice and I've just kept up good form.

"With the start I had this year, it's very easy to look at the Race to Dubai and want to look towards the end of the year. Winning the Race to Dubai, it's going to be tough.

"I was a long way ahead and then Sergio won the Masters. You can't control what other people do. With how strong the Tour is, there's no reason why people can't win Majors. It might be me, it might be someone else."

The 26 year old entered the day a shot off the lead but when he put his tee-shot on the par three second within a roll of a hole-in-one, he took a position in top spot that he would not relinquish.

Björk made a shaky start as he three-putted the first and when Fleetwood hit an excellent second into the par five third and got down in two for a birdie, he had the lead on his own ahead of Uihlein.

The Swede soon joined him, though, with a bounce back birdie on the fifth and a chip-in on the seventh to get to nine under.

Fleetwood had made five pars in a row but he once again needed just two shots to get to the green on the par five ninth and two putts saw him turn in 33 and handed him a one-shot lead.

Uihlein had turned in 37 but he birdied the 11th to get within two before Fleetwood hit a stunning approach to the 13th and when Björk bogeyed the 12th, the lead was three shots.

It was briefly four as an excellent chip from Fleetwood set up another gain on the 14th but Uihlein made birdies on the 13th and 14th to cut the gap to two heading into the tough closing stretch.

Uihlein birdied the 17th to give himself a chance up the last but he could not make another gain, with Björk making a birdie after bogeying the 17th.

Lorenzo-Vera came home in 31 - earning the biggest cheer of the day with a birdie on the last - to sign for a 66.

Olesen turned in 33 with four birdies and a bogey, added further gains on the tenth and 13th, and when he hit a beautiful bunker shot on the 14th he was right in the mix. A bogey on the 17th effectively ended his chances but he birdied the last for a 65.

New Zealander Ryan Fox finished at seven under, a shot clear of England's Ross Fisher, China's Li Haotong and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, with Swede Alex Noren, Spaniard Jon Rahm and England's Lee Westwood at six under.

 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-12
2UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-11
T3OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-8
T3LORENZO-VERA, MikeFRA18-8
T3BJÖRK, AlexanderSWE18-8
6FOX, RyanNZL18-7

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