CARNOUSTIE (UK): Tommy Fleetwood knows how big an achievement it would be if on Sunday he becomes the first Englishman in over a quarter of a century to win the British Open.
The 27-year-old – who finished runner-up at last month’s US Open with a superb final round of 63 – carded a sublime six-under-par 65 in his second round at Carnoustie on Friday to move to five-under for the tournament.
Fleetwood, who with his long hair and beard seems like a throwback to the 1960s, says if there is one major he would like to win it is this one, the only one played outside the United States and which has not been won by an Englishman since Nick Faldo in 1992.
“Yeah, it would be – it would be very special,” said Fleetwood. “If I could pick one tournament in my life to win, it would be The Open.” Fleetwood has won four times on the European Tour including successive Abu Dhabi Championships but has never properly shone at The Open, missing the cut three times and finishing tied for 27th last year.
“I’ve never been anywhere near before,” said Fleetwood, who has a liking for Carnoustie having set a course record 63 here in October last year. “So far for two rounds, I’m up there on the leaderboard. “But, yeah, it would be something to have in my career that would be amazing by the time I’m done…The Open is something that I’d like.”
Fleetwood said that his stunning final round in the US Open at the ultra-demanding Shinnecock Hills had given him an enormous belief in his ability to be a contender at a major.
“The round itself was just something that was very special and very close to being a one and only round on its own,” said Fleetwood, who without a kit sponsor had to procure an umbrella for the round which was played in pouring rain. “But to be a part of history was really cool. I don’t think you can get a much tougher test than Shinnecock or Carnoustie really.”
Fleetwood, who usually travels with his dog but said he and his wife Clare had brought their young son Franklin with them this time, added that he feels he can deal with expectations better now than at last year’s Open at his local club Royal Birkdale. “It’s nice,” said Fleetwood. “I think last year was definitely a bit more difficult than this year in terms of expectation not coming very quickly for me, struggling with my game, and that was a home Open Championship. “At the moment, I’ve put myself high in the world rankings (he is 10th), and I’ve had the US Open just recently, I’ve had a great result,” Fleetwood added that learning to deal with pressure to be successful was just part and parcel of his game now.
“You always have an expectation on yourself. That’s just a given really. “But, yeah, it’s something that you get used to and something that you have to learn about, but at the same time, it’s much nicer than having no eyes on you at all.”
Golf: Johnson climbs to 2nd in rankings!
PARIS: Dustin Johnson moved up to second in the world rankings and closed on number one Justin Rose on Monday after winning his sixth WGC title in Mexico.
The 34-year-old American is now only 0.0064 average points adrift of fellow former US Open champion Rose as he bids to retake the top ranking, which he has held for 81 weeks in his career. Johnson’s five-shot win over Rory McIlroy on Sunday made him only the fifth man in the last 50 years to reach 20 PGA Tour titles before the age of 35, after Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, and Phil Mickelson.
Woods continued his rise up the rankings since returning to the sport last year following back surgery, moving up one place to 12th after finishing tied-10th in Mexico. Four-time major winner McIlroy jumped two spots to sixth after his fourth successive top-five finish.
World top 20
1. Justin Rose (ENG) 9.87 average pts
2. Dustin Johnson (USA) 9.87 (+1)
3. Justin Thomas (USA) 8.69 (+1)
4. Brooks Koepka (USA) 8.67 (-2)
5. Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 7.64
6. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 6.68 (+2)
7. Xander Schauffele (USA) 6.31
8. Jon Rahm (ESP) 6.12 (-2)
9. Rickie Fowler (USA) 5.89
10. Francesco Molinari (ITA) 5.58
11. Jason Day (AUS) 5.40
12. Tiger Woods (USA) 5.25 (+1)
13. Tony Finau (USA) 5.23 (-1)
14. Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 4.87
15. Patrick Reed (USA) 4.78
16. Paul Casey (ENG) 4.70 (+3)
17. Marc Leishman (AUS) 4.51 (-1)
18. Patrick Cantlay (USA) 4.43 (+2)
19. Bubba Watson (USA) 4.41 (-2)
20. Phil Mickelson (USA) 4.28 (-2)
Wasim Akram to establish a cricket academy
KARACHI: Wasim Akram today announced the establishment of Wasim Akram Cricket Academy in DHA Multan.
Addressing a presser at a local hotel here, he said that the state-of-the-art Wasim Akram Cricket Academy will be equipped with all requisite facilities including a multipurpose building, pavilion/seating area, outdoor practice nets (6-8 pitches), administrative facilities including grounds men workshop and other sports facilities like squash courts, swimming pool etc.
“My purpose is to train and nurture the young talent and this academy will be breeding ground for Pakistan’s National team. I intend turning this academy into our national team’s camp before proceeding abroad for matches. We will lay the top of the lines pitches like Perth, Melbourne etc to train them,” said Wasim Akram.
Sharing details of the country’s first Championship Signature 18 holes golf course, he said “Currently Pakistan has been unable to register its presence on International standard golf courses and coaching facilities for talented young golfers. I am very happy after knowing that DHA Multan aims to address both shortcomings.” He expressed the hope that Rumanza Golf Course will be an avenue to flourish the game by nurturing the young talent of the country to be able to compete at international levels.
Wasim Akram apprised that the ground breaking ceremony of Rumanza was held on 22nd November 2018 in DHA Multan where golf course architect Sir Nick Faldo, number of foreign consultants engaged for the golf course and representatives of Desert Group UAE responsible for the construction of the course were present. He said that Rumanza would be managed and operated by Troon Golf, which is managing over 300 golf courses across the globe.
60-million-to-one shot! Club golfer bags two holes-in-one
MELBOURNE: An Australian club golfer has defied odds of more than 60-million-to-one to shoot two holes-in-one in a single round on a course in Melbourne, local media reported today.
Jim Grant said he missed seeing his first ace go in on the 11th at the Green Acres Golf Club in the suburb of Kew because he was chatting with playing partners, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
“I hit a lovely 8-iron up and I thought the ball was getting close and I turned to the fellas to say ‘I think this is going to go close’ and they were all jumping up and down,” he told the ABC. “I kind of missed it going in.”
But he had another bite of the cherry just six holes later at the 17th, a 180-meter (196-yard) par three with a bunker guarding the front left of the green.
“We jumped for joy and whooped a bit. It was quite amazing,” he said, adding that he had used a 5-iron. The odds of an amateur golfer carding a hole-in-one are around 12,500-1, according to insurance companies. And the odds of two holes-in-one in the same round are quoted at roughly 67-million-to-one, though mathematicians can disagree on the exact figure because of the variables involved.
It is not clear whether Grant bought two rounds of drinks for everyone at the clubhouse afterward – one for each of his aces.