Tommy Fleetwood still in the mix as Englishman bids for back-to-back titles in Abu Dhabi

David Cooper - Writer 19:52 20/01/2018
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Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood will go into Sunday’s final round two shots behind as he attempts to win back-to-back titles at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

The 26-year-old carded a five-under par 67 to finish on 15 under, two shots behind joint leaders Thomas Pieters and Ross Fisher.

Fleetwood is bidding to a seal a second Falcon Trophy after coming from one shot behind last year to beat Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal.

With a similar gap separating him from the summit of the leaderboard, the European No1 has the chance to replicate his class and deliver a second crown in the UAE capital.

He said: “Being in contention on a Sunday is just where everybody wants to be. We all start preparing on the Monday, and then you want to get to six days later, seven days later, you want to be there in the back nine on Sunday in contention. That’s the aim for the week, and see where it goes from there.

“It’s been a really solid week so far. Happy with my game and that’s just what I’ve got to go out and do tomorrow. Go out with the same attitude and hopefully I’ll swing it the same and have a lot more chances and we’ll see what happens.”

“For me, (I) played great today, I’m going to take that into tomorrow, and it will will be very satisfying to go back-to-back.”

The Englishman produced his second bogey-free round of the weekend – as he hit two birdies on the front nine, followed by three on the back, to finish in a tie for third alongside Matt Fitzpatrick.

He added: “The main thing for me was I was really pleased how I hit it today. I was a lot sharper today, swinging a lot better and just hit — most of the time, hitting some shots that I wanted to, so that was much better.”

Fleetwood will tee off for his final round at 12.32 on Sunday, alongside Thomas Detry of Belgium.

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