Fleet­wood aims to give Rose a moun­tain to climb in desert

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Racing - By James Cor­ri­gan

Tommy Fleet­wood has sig­ni­fied to his or­der of merit ri­val Justin Rose that he will not have it all his own way in the forth­com­ing fi­nale in Dubai.

In­deed, if the English­man can con­tinue the same progress up the leader­board at the Ned­bank Chal­lenge in South Africa, he could leave his world No6 com­pa­triot with a ver­i­ta­ble moun­tain to ne­go­ti­ate in the desert.

In dif­fi­cult con­di­tions in Sun City, Fleet­wood posted a third-round five­un­der 67 to move up 30 places to twounder and into a tie for sev­enth.

The 26-year-old knows that should he make up the six-shot deficit on Scot­land’s Scott Jamieson and win his third ti­tle of the sea­son then he will re­quire only a top-18 fin­ish in the DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship to en­sure he lifts the Harry Var­don Trophy.

A top-three plac­ing seems more re­al­is­tic for Fleet­wood, but even that would make Rose’s task of repli­cat­ing his 2007 glory that much more for­mi­da­ble. Fleet­wood is cur­rently 130,000 points ahead of his coun­try­man.

At the very least, he will take the pos­i­tives from this up­turn in form.

A 73-74 be­gin­ning sug­gested that af­ter his 20th in Turkey and his 23rd in Shang­hai, Fleet­wood was stum­bling on the run-in, with the Olympic cham­pion breath­ing down his neck.

“Hats off to Rosey for the way he has played the last cou­ple of weeks, win­ning back to back [at the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons and last week’s Turk­ish Air­lines Open],” Fleet­wood said. “It’s made it an in­ter­est­ing fin­ish, but I could make it a lot more bor­ing if I have a good day to­mor­row. It’s still in my hands. I’ve still got to keep do­ing what I’m do­ing, and con­cen­trate. Aside from ev­ery­thing that’s go­ing on, it’s one of those tour­na­ments I would love to win. There’s a lot to play for.”

There are some big names be­tween Fleet­wood and the pace­set­ter, not least Ry­der Cup­pers Mar­tin Kaymer – the Ger­man on five-un­der fol­low­ing a sec­ond suc­ces­sive 69 – and the enig­matic French­man Vic­tor Dubuisson, a shot off Jamieson fol­low­ing his 71.

Dubuisson, 27, reached as high as 15th in the world in the wake of his 2014 hero­ics as a rookie at the 2014 Ry­der Cup but since then he has tum­bled out of the world’s top 150. A third place at last month’s Dun­hill Links in­di­cated he was re­turn­ing to his for­mer self.

The high­est Jamieson has even climbed in the world is 68th, but in the last few years the main fo­cus has been on re­tain­ing his Euro­pean Tour card as he has fallen out of the top 250. A vic­tory would be the ob­vi­ous high­light for the 33-year-old Glaswe­gian. He won the Nel­son Man­dela Cham­pi­onship in 2012 but this sec­ond win in South Africa would net him £945,000, his largest cheque by more than £700,000.

“There’s still an aw­ful long way to go but if I can do what I did to­day, I’ll be in with a good shout,” Jamieson said af­ter his 67. “It would be the big­gest mo­ment of my ca­reer, I’ll be well aware of that to­mor­row. I’ve got to see if I can step up to the chal­lenge.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.