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The 151st Open

Fleetwood on the hunt


'I've put in chases in the past'

Tommy Fleetwood in round two at The 151st Open

Tommy Fleetwood is no stranger to mounting a challenge from the chasing pack and he is confident he can make a dent in Brian Harman’s commanding halfway lead at The 151st Open.

Fleetwood started Friday in a share of the overnight lead but teed off five shots adrift after Harman’s superb 65 dominated the morning’s action at Royal Liverpool.

He enters the weekend with the same deficit after battling to a level-par 71, a bogey at 16 halting his momentum after consecutive birdies had seen him threaten a late charge.

Only two players, Abe Mitchell in 1920 and Henry Cotton in 1934, have ever held a bigger lead at this stage but Fleetwood knows there is plenty of golf still to be played while he may hold an advantage should the predicted rain arrive.

He also has form when it comes to hunting down leaders, most recently producing closing rounds of 64 and 67 to force a play-off in the Canadian Open, while his last DP World Tour win, the 2022 Nedbank Golf Challenge, saw him come from four shots back at halfway.

Tommy Fleetwood escapes from a bunker at the sixth

“I've put in chases before in the past,” he said.

“At the end of the day, if somebody said you're going out in the last group on Saturday, I don't care what the situation was or what anybody had shot, I'd have probably taken it.

“That's the way I look at it, and I just look forward to playing over the weekend.

“I felt like I played well for a lot of it, but just in the end it was hard. One mistake on 16 with the tee shot; the bunkers are the ultimate hazards.

“I stuck in there and overall level par wasn't really a bad round. It feels good.”

Neither Fleetwood nor Harman have won a major but both know what it feels like to finish as runner-up, a feeling they will be desperate to avoid again.

Fleetwood’s chances of getting over the line may be boosted by the hordes of supporters who will be roaring ‘come on Tommy’ down every fairway and the 32-year-old appreciates the backing.

“They've been insanely amazing,” he said. “They really, really have.

“I have loved every minute of playing in front of them, and I can't thank everybody enough.

“I can’t have asked for any more from anybody with all the support they're giving me out here and everybody is talking about it.

“Yeah, the northwest is definitely making a name for itself with how they are. It's been great, and I'm just excited to play in front of them. I really am.

“We don't know what the conditions are going to bring, and you just have to keep playing until it's over and see where you finish.”

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