Confident Fleetwood is swinging in the rain
He looks like a rock star and Tommy Fleetwood hit all the right notes to move himself into contention at The Open.
Fleetwood admitted frustration after his first round left him six shots back from early leader Kevin Kisner.
But he made them all back in an attention-grabbing round of 65 that moved him onto five under par, one shot behind clubhouse leader and former winner Zach Johnson.
He didn’t drop a single shot with three birdies on the front and back nine - including rolling in a long putt on the 18th to end in style.
“I’m very pleased with that. I struggled tee to green in the first round but I spent some time on the range and just hit it a lot better,” he said.
“In tough conditions that’s a really good round of golf and it makes such a nice difference to birdie the last too.
“We’re only halfway through the tournament unfortunately, 36 holes is a long way to go. I’ve put myself back into contention and if I can keep hitting it like I did then I’m going to have a lot of chances.”
Fleetwood was raised playing links golf on courses like Southport, Formby Hall and Southport & Ainsdale near his Merseyside home.
When the Open returned to Royal Birkdale last year, where his father still walks the family dog, he was the poster boy, his face adorning banners that hung from lampposts throughout his hometown.
In the end the pressure of expectation perhaps took its toll, especially as he’d missed the cut in six of his previous eight major appearances.
However, he has since climbed into the world’s top ten, won the European Tour’s Order of Merit and finished second at the US Open, tying the championship's single round scoring record with a final round 63.
But all that could be eclipsed if he continues his form from the second round here at Carnoustie.
The 27-year old clearly loves this course, setting a course record 63 at last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.
He walked onto the first tee as rain steadily fell and whipped out his driver, unleashing a booming tee-shot to underline his strategy for the day.
All six birdies came on holes where he failed to pick up shots on Thursday but his best hole was the 17th - which is playing as one of the hardest here. Two bullet straight two irons were followed by two regulation putts and Fleetwood’s confidence was rightly soaring.
“If I could pick one tournament in my life to win it would be The Open,” he added.
“Last year was more difficult in terms of expectation. I’ve played very well recently and had some performance that I’m very proud about. I know with that comes expectation and that’s something to learn and handle. It’s much nicer than having no eyes on you at all.
“I’m just really pleased to be in it, it’s not a course record but that will do.”
Johnson, the Champion Golfer in 2015, started the day with a bogey but after that played flawless golf, picking up three shots in four holes before the turn. Two birdies on the back nine, including a long range putt at the last, moved him to six-under.
Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy’s second consecutive 69 moved him to four-under, a great position from which to build a base this weekend.
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