By Ben Robertson
Current Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood has admitted retaining the European Tours Crown Jewel will be no easy feet as he looks to overhaul fellow European Francesco Molinari.
Europe’s deadly duo will battle it out this Thursday on the Earth course of the Jumeriah golf estates in Dubai, along with other big names on the tour such as Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed.
With the season coming to a close we enter the year capping tournament in Dubai with just two golfers in the hunt for becoming Europes number 1. After Li Haotong, Lucas Bjerregaard and Rory McIlroy not getting the required results, the title may only be won by either of the ‘Moliwood’ pairing.
Fleetwood is second in the race at the moment and has found himself more than a million points behind Molinari who only needs a top 5 finish to be crowned champion. The southport born golfer will be looking for a repeat of the golf he displayed during his us open score of 63, in order to catch Molinari.
This time last year, it was Fleetwood in Molinari’s position as he topped the leaderboard going into the event. Justin Rose lead the event but bogeyed 3 of the last 5 holes, losing to a 1 shot lead from Fleetwood. This resulted in Fleetwood’s world ranking plummeting from 99th to inside the top 20 – a career best for the 4 time European tour winner.
Speaking about his victory 12 months ago Fleetwood said: “Last year I didn’t really do a great job of leading and handling it and I think there was a massive focus on Race to Dubai,” Fleetwood added. “This year I can just concentrate on the tournament and what we need to do to win that.
Fleetwood went on to say how this year there is less pressure and there is more an element of margin within his performance.
“Unless I had a three-shot lead going into the back nine on Sunday, I can’t really lose anything. I either win or I don’t, and that’s pretty black and white this week.”
Molinari’s season has seen him claim his first victory on the Rolex series at the BMW PGA championship earlier in the year. Further success arrived when he conjured up another top 10 finish in a Rolex event as well as two top 25 finishes in World Golf Championship events. Therefor Cementing his place at the top of the leaderboard with a 1,025,166 point lead.
Despite the major points gap between the two, Fleetwood is thriving on the opportunity and is remaining positive in the lead up to the event.
“It’s nice to have a chance, as little as it is, but it’s a massively tall order,” Fleetwood said. “It’s great that we are playing the first round together and hopefully I will have a chance on Sunday.”
Fleetwood feels that in the event Molinari does take his title, he has still enjoyed a moderately successful season, saying ” I think this year for sure has been better. I haven’t won as much but its been better.”
Speaking about a Molinari Victory he said ” Francesco will deserve it after the year he’s had.”