Fleetwood revels in revival as Race to Dubai drama looms
Tommy Fleetwood is grateful to remain in contention for the Race to Dubai crown going into the final round of the European Tour season after finding himself "a bit lost" last year.
The Englishman recorded just five top-10 finishes in 2016 and only one of those came during a particularly lean stretch between January and August.
A strong finish to the season, though, carried over into 2017, Fleetwood winning twice and finishing as a runner-up on two other occasions, together with six more placings in the top 10.
The 26-year-old, who also became a father for the first time this year, has led the Race to Dubai standings for much of the campaign.
His rival for the Harry Vardon Trophy, countryman Justin Rose, sits two shots clear of Fleetwood at the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
And while the 2013 U.S. Open winner could yet snatch the end-of-season prize away from his less experienced compatriot, Fleetwood is satisfied merely to be running the Ryder Cup veteran close.
"It's the biggest thing I've ever tried to achieve," he said.
"I was in contention in the U.S. Open and Mexico but they were one or two rounds. This has been all year and you come down to the final event.
"A year and a half ago I was absolutely nowhere in the game and I was a bit lost.
"Fast forward to here for me, it's been amazing to play and to enjoy my golf this year.
"Then to get to this stage, it's been an absolute pleasure and privilege trying to compete for a Race to Dubai."
Rose must finish ahead of Fleetwood in outright fifth or better to snatch the 2017 crown, and the Olympic champion, who was a runner-up to his friend and European team-mate Sergio Garcia at the Masters in April, is well aware he may not enjoy a serene procession at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
"I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard," said Rose.
"But if I slip up, he's right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.
"An opportunity, that's the way I'm going to look at it. Don't see much pressure on myself tomorrow. This is going to be a day just to go for it really and play well.
"There's going to be a lot of good players and it's going to be a day where you have to play good golf."
"May the best man win" pic.twitter.com/fBMU8fEiwZ— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 18, 2017