Tommy Fleetwood (Getty Images)
England’s Tommy Fleetwood shone on his World Golf Championships debut to sit three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy after the first round of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
The 22 year old turned in a level par 36 before firing two birdies and an eagle on the way in for a four under par 68 at Sheshan International.
The Johnnie Walker Championship winner spoke afterwards at his delight on holding his own in his first elite-field event.
“These weeks are a bit of a step up into another level for me so it's nice to being getting used to come out and nice to be getting used to it,” said Fleetwood.
“It’s nice to be around all the best players and to putt in a good performance is always nice.
“It's brilliant. This is where you want to be. This is what you practice for and what you play for; so the more of these tournaments I can get in, the better.
“It's felt really good this week. It's felt really enjoyable this week being with all the top players and this is where you learn, this is the best education you're ever going to get as a young golfer, so it's been great.”
While Fleetwood was pleased with his score, the former Challenge Tour Number One admitted he had enjoyed a large slice of fortune that turned a potential bogey into an eagle three at the long 14th.
“I didn't even have a chance on the front nine for a birdie, I don't think,” he added. “Front nine, it was the absolute best I could have got was level par. Back nine, absolute best I could have got was four under.
“I got an unbelievable piece of luck on the par five 14th. I've gone for the green and carved it right, club is in the bank - it's water all day. I get to drop it, place it and then chip in, so it's gone from a six or a seven to a three.
“But you need bits like that and that's what you need in life, I guess. I'm definitely not going to complain about it but obviously that's gone for me back to level to three under and then you're moving forward. It was just one of those rounds that I got absolutely the most out of it.”