He looks like Lennon and sounds like McCartney, so it’s no surprise to see Tommy Fleetwood leading the British charge on day one of The 151st Open.
Fleetwood, born and raised 30 miles up the Merseyside coast in Southport, could not have asked for a better start, his five-under-par round putting him into a share of the lead with Amateur Champion Christo Lamprecht at Thursday tea time.
It was a notable score for multiple reasons. His 66 equalled his lowest score at The Open, matching rounds from Royal Birkdale in 2017, Royal Portrush in 2019 and St Andrews last year.
However, those three rounds all came in the third round, rather than the first, and this time Fleetwood has started hot – which he admits gave him extra satisfaction when he holed a nervy five-foot putt for par on the last.
It is far too soon to start thinking too heavily about the prospect of a first English Champion Golfer in 31 years – and a first English winner in England since 1969 – but Fleetwood has certainly got everyone’s attention.
With a packed gallery of spectators, including plenty of family and friends, following his every move, Fleetwood was quick to hail the inspiration of playing in front of a home crowd.
“One of the things that we've said this week is what an amazing time it is for us to be out on the golf course with that support, playing in an Open,” he said.
“It's very, very special.
“Whatever happens, it's always going to be a great time, having the support like that. But on top of it, playing a great round it does feel really good. It's up there as a most enjoyable major round.”
After a start of four successive pars, Fleetwood’s first birdie came at the gentle par-5 5th, but it was the back nine where he really caught fire.
A gorgeous 25-foot putt brought a birdie on 11 and, with the putter working beautifully, he holed from 10 feet on 14 and 26 feet on 16 to move into a share of the lead.
“You just want to get off to a fast start,” he added.
“It's not really been my strength recently, I have started tournaments pretty slow, so to get something going today felt really good.
“Honestly, from the 5th or 6th hole onwards it felt like I started hitting good golf shots and I had some chances, but my putts were close rolling at the hole. Just a case of finally getting on a run through there.
“Like I say, as first rounds go, that's absolutely the one you wanted, and to get off to a good start feels good.”
A missed cut at the Travelers Championship aside, Fleetwood’s form has been strong, including sixth at the Genesis Scottish Open, fifth at the US Open and second at the Canadian Open, where he lost to Nick Taylor in a play-off.
Form breeds confidence and the 32-year-old believes he is ready to land his first major title.
“I think whenever you have a good result, I think there's validation in the work that you're doing, and I think that of course that's what you want,” he said.
“It's much better having good results than getting kicked in the teeth all the time when you feel like you're working so hard and you're doing the right things.”
“I think good results always spur you on and they give you the confidence to keep pushing on and doing those things.
“I enjoy the game, and I enjoy trying to get better. At the moment, we're obviously in this period where I have to be patient and trusting in what we're doing and show good results, and yeah, there's times where it could go either way, and it hasn't gone my way yet.
“All I want to do is keep working hard, keep playing, and keep putting myself in position, and obviously it'll be my turn soon.”