Fleetwood Shines at Abu Dhabi First Round

Tommy Fleetwood clearly isn’t satisfied with his breakout 2017 season.

The young Englishman kicked off the defence of his Race to Dubai title and his crown at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Thursday by firing a tournament-best 5-under 66.

“It’s a good golf course to hit 18 greens around,” Fleetwood said. “Just a good ball-striking round and nice to start the year off like that. Had control of my ball really from the get-go. Just sort of did what you need to do well around here to get a good score: I drove it well, got away with a couple of tee shots.”
Later in the day, Japan’s Hideto Tanihara also shot a 66 to tie Fleetwood for the lead.

Perhaps the most impressive part about Fleetwood’s 66 was the company he shot it in. His laying partners for the day were World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and 4-time Major winner Rory McIlroy.

“These two, I don’t know what I’ll do in my career and nobody knows what the future holds, but I think these two might be going down in the history books, so it will be nice to tell them that I played these two in a three-ball,” Fleetwood said.

In his first action in several months, McIlroy shot an impressive 69 to begin his comeback trail.

Johnson had four birdies but also four bogeys to record an even-par 72 in the opening round.


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