Fleetwood storms to French Open title


SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France: Englishman Tommy Fleetwood fired a bogey-free final round of 66 to win the French Open at Le Golf National by one shot on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

The 26-year-old finished on 12 under par for the tournament after his five-under closing effort, edging out American Peter Uihlein, whose charge came too late.

It was a third European Tour title for Fleetwood, who finished fourth at the US Open last month.

He will head to the British Open, which starts on July 20 in his hometown of Southport, expecting to significantly improve his record of three straight missed cuts.

“Today, it’s a day that I’ll never forget,” he told europeantour.com. “The way I felt coming down the stretch, the holes and the shots you have to hit.”

Fleetwood also retook the lead in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai from Masters champion Sergio Garcia, and on current form looks a good bet to qualify for Thomas Bjorn’s European Ryder Cup team to take on the Americans at the same course to the southwest of Paris next year.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Fleetwood, who began the day a stroke behind joint-overnight leaders Peter Uihlein and Alexander Bjoerk, started well with birdies on the second and third holes to take the lead.

The world number 21 added his third birdie of the day on the par-five ninth, before two more at 13 and 14 opened up a three-shot advantage over Uihlein.

He parred his way in to set an imposing clubhouse target.

Uihlein had started poorly in playing the first five holes in two over par, but a run of three birdies in four holes from the 11th gave him an outside chance of a second European Tour title.

He poured in another on the 17th to head down the difficult last needing a birdie to force a play-off, but failed to hole out from the greenside bunker.

Sweden’s Bjoerk rattled in a long birdie putt on the final green to grab one of the three British Open places on offer.

With the top three finishers in the top 10 who were not yet exempt given invitations to play in the years’ third major tournament, Uihlein and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera joined Bjoerk in booking their spots for Royal Birkdale.

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen carded eight birdies in a six-under-par final round of 65 to catapult himself into a share of third place with Lorenzo-Vera and Bjoerk.



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