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Tuesday, 07 May 2019
Tommy Fleetwood  (Getty Images)
Tommy Fleetwood (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood is confident he can use home advantage to spur him on as he plays tournament host in his native Southport at the Betfred British Masters.

This week is not the first time the Englishman has teed it up close to home on the European Tour, with The 146th Open Championship being held at Royal Birkdale in 2017.

Hillside Golf Club sits next door to Birkdale on the Merseyside coast, and two years ago Fleetwood finished 13 shots behind winner Jordan Spieth as he made the cut at The Open for the first time.

An opening 76 gave the 28-year-old a mountain to climb that week and he admits the pressure of playing in front of a large and vociferous home crowd may have played its part in his first round.

Since then Fleetwood has won the Race to Dubai and starred in a victorious Ryder Cup Team, and he is certain he can channel the home enthusiasm into good things week.



"I would say I'm lucky to come from the north west where the support is extreme," he said. "Just playing in front of those people that are behind you and supporting you, I go around the world and I get good support but there's nothing quite like home.

"I'm looking forward to it this week. I want to put on a good performance but I really know that everybody here, whether I do well or not, they are going to make this event one of the best of the year, I'm sure of it.

"It's a different atmosphere when you play behind so many people that are behind you and you want to do well for them, it's not just about you then. You want to put on a great performance for your town and the people that come to watch you. 

"It's different pressures but I've learnt from it and I've grown since then. That was my first season where I was starting to contend in Majors. There's so many different things that have happened since then that I'm way more used to. I'm very excited about teeing it up on Thursday this week."

I want to play well and I want to do really well in the event. At the end of the day, I'm not here just to host - Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood may be used to playing on the biggest stages in the world now but he is having a new experience this week as he hosts an event for the first time.

Since returning to the Race to Dubai in 2015, the British Masters has been hosted by Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, and Fleetwood is delighted to be in such illustrious company.

"I'm very proud," he said. "It's strange, like especially the last two days, I'd say driving in the car this morning, I said to (his wife) Clare, I feel way more nervous than a normal event, I don't know why.

"I would say we know what we're doing this week and I know what I've got to do. I'd say everybody's been really good at keeping us informed. Clare looks after me very well. 

"I want to play well and I want to do really well in the event. At the end of the day, I'm not here just to host. I'm loving doing that and I'm really proud that I've got my face to a tournament but, still, I want to prepare as well as I can and hopefully put on a good show. 



"I think having a host at the event is a great initiative for the player and for the Tour and for the tournament. I would love it to continue and I would love to support whoever it is after me. I'm enjoying it."

World Number 16 Fleetwood will go in search of a first Major Championship next week, with both this event and the US PGA Championship taking up new places on the golfing calendar.

Fleetwood admits he would usually take a week off before a Major but sees no reason why playing at Hillside cannot be the perfect springboard to victory in New York.

"I get an extra week in my own bed and I'm not ever going to complain about that," he said. Who knows? I normally have a week off before the Majors and I haven't won one yet, either. Maybe playing the British Masters the week before might be the turning point."

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
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T2PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-15
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T2WALLACE, MattENG18-15
5RAMSAY, RichieSCO18-12
T6WARING, PaulENG18-11

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