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Fleetwood eyes world No. 1 after Race to Dubai win

Goals will keep getting ‘high and lofty’ for US-bound Englishman

Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Tommy Fleetwood of England pose with the trophy after winning Race To Dubai on the final day of DP World Tour Championship.
Gulf News

Dubai: Tommy Fleetwood says he now wants to become World No. 1 after winning the Race to Dubai on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Englishman held on to the European Tour’s Order of Merit despite the fact he finished tied for 21st on 11-under par in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood’s nearest rival in the money-list Justin Rose needed a solo finish within the top five to overtake him, but could only manage a tied for fourth-place finish on 17-under, just two strokes behind tournament winner Jon Rahm.

Rose came into the final day with a one-stroke lead at 15-under and had taken that up to 19-under, a stroke clear by the seventh, but then a back nine implosion saw him drop three shots before a birdie at the end.

Given that Rose had to share his finishing position with three others, the split of cash fractionally wasn’t enough to overtake Fleetwood. In the end, just under €60,000 (Dh260,000) separated the pair in one of the closest finales yet.

“My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world,” said Fleetwood, looking ahead after his money-list triumph in Europe. “Whether I achieve it or not is another thing, but I’ll always strive for that. Everybody in the profession should have that goal.

“I think this year has been big in terms of my career. With some of the performances, I have put myself on the world stage a bit more,” he said of getting 10 top-10s, six top-fives, including two wins, in 24 appearances this season.

“When we sit down after this year, we’ll make sure that the goals get high and lofty and that I push myself to achieve more.

“I’ve got a lot of experience in me after the last two or three years. I know I can go down the wrong path very easily and I think I’ve got people around me and myself included that know that know how to stay on the right path hopefully,” he said of having risen from World No. 99 at the end of last year to where he sits now inside the world’s top-20.

His revival started in Abu Dhabi with victory in January and he continued that with a runners-up spot in the WGC in Mexico in March, and a fourth-place finish in the US Open in June, before a second win of the year in France in July.

“I had come from sort of the lowest point in my playing career, all the way to where I knew I wanted to be,” he said of the pivotal Abu Dhabi win. “I won and I hadn’t won in three years,” added Fleetwood, who turned professional in 2010. “But it was more, I had won and proved that I was back where my game should be.

“I obviously want to play a bit more on the US PGA Tour next year,” he added. “I think it’s a different style of golf for starters, and there is a lot of the best players in the world that play over there. The majority of the Majors and WGCs are there.

“I might struggle because it’s a learning curve but it’s all part of the process.”

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