Tommy Fleetwood will head into the Open Championship later this month in the form of his life after claiming a second victory of the season in the HNA Open de France.
Fleetwood carded a flawless final round of 66 at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue, Le Golf National ,to finish 12 under par, a shot ahead of overnight joint-leader Peter Uihlein.
The 26-year-old from Southport, who used to sneak on to the Open venue of Royal Birkdale as a kid, was a lowly 188th in the world last September, but will be a career-high 15th when the rankings are updated. Olympic champion Justin Rose is now the only English player ranked higher than Fleetwood, who also moved above Masters champion Sergio Garcia to the top of the Race to Dubai.
Fleetwood has reaped the rewards of returning to his former coach Alan Thompson and followed his second European Tour win in Abu Dhabi in January by finishing fourth in the US Open last month.
“When it all got talked about last year, everybody knew these were the tournaments you wanted to play well in,” Fleetwood said after collecting the trophy and career-best first prize of £915,000, eclipsing the £850,000 he won by finishing second to world No 1 Dustin Johnson in the WGC-Mexico Championship in March.
“To win a Rolex Series event, knowing how big the stature is of everything now is a big deal for me. I played great today, felt comfy again and it’s always great to test your game and test what you work on every day under the ultimate pressure.”
Fleetwood, who was within a fraction of an inch of spinning his tee shot on the par 3 second back into the hole for an ace, came under late pressure when Uihlein picked up shots at the 13th, 14th and 17th, but the American could not hole a bunker shot on the 18th to force a play-off.
Uihlein had the consolation of sealing his place at Royal Birkdale via the Open qualifying series, with Alexander Bjork and Mike Lorenzo-Vera claiming the other two berths available in a share of third place with Thorbjorn Olesen, who was already exempt.