Tommy Fleetwood heartbroken as final putt fades in Hong Kong Open
The 25-year-old shoots a 68 in the final round to finish in a tie for third
Tommy Fleetwood had his heart broken by a birdie putt that faded – just – on the last.
Drop, and it would have seen the Englishman in the clubhouse and tied for the lead of the UBS Hong Kong Open as the last and leading pair came down the 18th fairway.
But it drifted wide and Fleetwood in the end had to content himself with a tie for third on 11-under par for the tournament after unheralded Australian Sam Brazel’s heroics on that same last green.
The 25-year-old took his medicine with a shrug after he had made numerous recoveries across his final-round, two-under 68 which included a double bogey seven on the par-five third that briefly looked like spelling disaster. But Fleetwood dug in as the day wore on.
“Today was more of a battle than I wanted it to be,” he said. “From [the third] it was a scrap. But I’m still happy with myself in the end for the way we handled it and the way we played and the way we battled out there.
“Couldn’t ask for much more. It came down to the last and that putt. I thought, I really did think that was going to break in. But yeah, it was a really good week.”
Fleetwood has had a return to form over the past six months and can now look to bigger things as the 2017 European Tour plays out, this tournament being the first on the schedule.
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“From August onwards, we really haven’t missed any [tournaments] that we could play,” he said. “It’s been great seeing my game progress back to where I would like it to be, but it’s time for a rest. Time to go home and see everyone.”
Masters champion Danny Willett was of the same opinion.
The world number 12’s campaign flickered into life halfway through the day, after the Englishman had moved up the leaderboard with five birdies across the opening 12 holes, and as the leaders had started to fall back into his lap.
But that was as good as it got though – and the front-runners regained their composure, and Willett had no more shots to fire.
“We played good, played nice and steady,” said the 29-year-old, the best performer of this year’s billboard signings.
“Gave ourselves a few chances all day. We were a bit shocked when we came upon to 16 and saw what the scores had done.”
There was a touch of magic even for the crowd on the 18th when Willett recovered from an errant tee shot to make the green and eventually par.
After a year where he’s name was etched forever among the legends at Augusta, a Christmas break awaits.
“It was good fun to finish the season off hitting that shot on 18, that second shot there, and making par,” said Willett.
“First one of the season for 2017, last one of the year, so it’s ready for feet up, enjoy Christmas home with the family and maybe pick the clubs up sometime in January.”