Tommy Fleetwood sets sights on first PGA Tour victory in Honda Classic | Golf News


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Last Updated: 01/03/20 12:09am











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Tommy Fleetwood admitted he ‘couldn’t ask for much more’ after taking the lead after three rounds at the Honda Classic

Tommy Fleetwood admitted he ‘couldn’t ask for much more’ after taking the lead after three rounds at the Honda Classic

Tommy Fleetwood hopes to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Honda Classic on Sunday after taking a one-shot lead after the third round.

The 29-year-old rose to the top of the leaderboard on the tough Champion Course layout at PGA National with a three-under 67 thanks to some excellent putting, in particular on the back nine where he birdied four of the closing six holes.

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Wayne Riley and James Haddock review the third round of the Honda Classic

Wayne Riley and James Haddock review the third round of the Honda Classic

Fleetwood will start the final round one clear of American Brendan Steele on five under, with his fellow Englishmen Lee Westwood and Luke Donald also still firmly in contention to end their long victory droughts on the PGA Tour on three under after shooting 71s on Saturday.

“It would be a win at a great golf course, a tough golf course, and I think if you’re going to win around here, you’re proving yourself as an all-round golfer,” said Fleetwood.

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“I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to wake up tomorrow with going out there with a chance to win my first PGA Tour event, and I’m really excited about it.

“It probably is another step in my career, but I’m not going to lie and say, I don’t really mind about winning in America. Of course I do. I want to win everywhere I play, and the PGA Tour is for sure one of those places where I haven’t done it yet.

“It is a good chance for me, and if it doesn’t happen, hopefully it’ll happen again in the future. I’ve just got to continue to play good golf and improve and keep giving myself chances, and eventually I will get one, and hopefully, fingers crossed, plan A is to win tomorrow, but if not we’ll just go to plan B and go again next week.”

Fleetwood mixed six birdies with three bogeys on Saturday

Fleetwood mixed six birdies with three bogeys on Saturday

Fleetwood, who has never previously led a PGA Tour tournament after 54 holes, was one of only 11 players to break par on an attritional day.

“[It was] very, very tough on a day that I didn’t particularly start off by hitting it great. Made some nice pars. It was a bit of a grind, and one thing you have to realise out there is par is your friend,” he added.

“People do make birdies out there, and it’s easy to look at the leaderboard and seeing it ebb and flow, but at the end of the day if you make pars you’re not doing any harm to yourself. Just managed to get it going a little bit on the back nine, and happy to see a few putts roll in.”

Luke Donald will play alongside Lee Westwood in the final round

Luke Donald will play alongside Lee Westwood in the final round

Donald, 42, has won five PGA Tour events – including this one at Mirasol in 2006 – but the last of his wins came back in 2012.

“[I’m] proud I’m in contention,” he said. “It’s been a little bit of a while out here on the PGA Tour. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a chance.

“I struggled a little bit off the tee today and was playing good defence really. But it’s a tough golf course, and you have to kind of stay patient out there. I knew just grinding out some pars and trying to pick up a couple birdies, I still would be there or thereabouts, and that’s how it panned out. I feel like I’m right there where I want to be.”

The last of Westwood’s two PGA Tour wins came even further back at the 2010 St Jude Classic, although he did triumph on the European Tour only last month in Abu Dhabi and he remains hopeful.

“I don’t feel like two shots is a lot around this golf course,” said the 46-year-old.

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Lee Westwood remains upbeat about his chances after grinding out a one-over 71

Lee Westwood remains upbeat about his chances after grinding out a one-over 71

“I didn’t have my ‘A’ game today. I didn’t play as well as I did the first two days, but I only hit two greens on the front nine, and short game and putting really held me together. I played a lot better around the back nine, hit a lot more good shots. Could have shot a few under par.

“So looking forward to tomorrow. This is a golf course that’s obviously exciting to watch, and especially the finish, and it’s exciting to play, as well. It’s a risk-reward golf course on steroids, I guess. There’s nowhere quite like it.”

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