Tommy Fleetwood admits second runners-up finish at a major hurts much more than his first

Press Association Sport 09:03 22/07/2019
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Tommy Fleetwood admitted his second runners-up finish in a major hurts much more than his first after seeing his dream of winning The Open slip from his grasp.

The Southport golfer began the final day at Royal Portrush four shots behind eventual champion Shane Lowry but was kicking himself after failing to put the pressure on at the first hole.

Unlike his second place at the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills – when he became the sixth golfer in the tournament’s history to shoot a 63 to almost chase down Brooks Koepka in the final round – he was in contention from the first shot this time.

“Shinnecock has a little piece of history, I shot 63 and it felt great but it was never my tournament (to win),” he said.

“Today was much more in the mix. I’ve had a really good feeling all weekend.

“The other part of it is – and I’m not putting down the US Open – but if I could pick one event, it would be The Open.

“It’s my dream, and it always will be, and when you’re teeing off in the last group on Sunday with a very good chance, it feels a lot rougher finishing when you feel like you’ve come so close to what you’ve dreamt as a kid.”

The 28-year-old knew he had to start well to put the pressure on Lowry but, while the Irishman holed a crucial eight-foot putt for bogey, Fleetwood missed from a similar distance for a birdie which would have produced a vital two-stroke swing.

From there it was an uphill struggle and Fleetwood conceded defeat after the 14th hole when a double-bogey six handed his opponent a five-shot lead.

“I hit two great shots on one, I didn’t convert two (a definite birdie opportunity). I hit a good shot in after a pulled tee shot on three and missed a short one on that (to bogey),” he said.

“Shane played really well and hit the right shots but didn’t always hit great shots. He made some key putts at key times, even down to the first hole.

“If you look at it I have six or seven feet for birdie, he has six or seven feet for bogey. If I hole and he misses we’ve got a one-shot gap and that’s only after one hole.

“He did better in those moments than I did today. I just didn’t convert the putts at the time and I didn’t do a good job of fixing my errant shots.

“Those first few holes, when you start the four back, are pretty crucial. I didn’t do a good enough job of sort of pressing at that point.

“I struggled in the middle but the four back with six to go is still in it. Fourteen was a killer.

“It is such a difficult hole if you’re out of position and I clearly made a mess. You never want to think like that but once that hole was over, that was pretty much it.”

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