Last Updated: 11/10/18 7:00pm
Tommy Fleetwood insisted fatigue is not an issue for him after he made a strong start at the Sky Sports British Masters.
The 27-year-old Englishman carded a five-under 67 in the first round at Walton Heath to put himself in a three-way tie for the lead with compatriots Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell.
Fleetwood made an excellent start with birdies at the second, sixth and seventh, the last of them coming after he drove through the green on the 400-yard par-four after making full use of the blustery wind and firm fairway.
A two-putt birdie on the par-five 11th followed and he moved to five under thanks to another birdie at the 16th courtesy of an excellent approach shot from the left rough to three feet.
He came unstuck at the par-three 17th, though, as he dropped a shot in unusual fashion when his tee shot ended up in a cup holder in an official’s buggy.
After taking a free drop he failed to get up and down, but he recovered in style with a birdie at the 18th following another fine approach to 10 feet.
Fleetwood has had a busy time of late, playing in the FedEx Cup Play-Offs before his heroics at the Ryder Cup and he then finished in a tie for second place at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but he is confident he can cope with the hectic schedule.
“I do look after myself in a lot of ways, physically, mentally, and last week I felt absolutely fine, honestly. I didn’t feel tired at all,” he said.
“This week I feel a bit more, and next week I’ll be having a week off. I guess it’s knowing everybody has different thresholds. Some people can only play two weeks at a time. Some people can play six, seven, eight and keep going.
“So fatigue, it is a real thing, and I think it’s more mental that it affects people really. Physically playing a round of golf, people do it as a luxury and a hobby, so walking around 18 holes is not a physically straining thing.
“But I think just mentally week in and week out when your first tee shot to your last putt over four days, 72 holes, that’s a long time to be concentrating, so that can wear. But so far I’m okay.”
Fleetwood, who played alongside his Ryder Cup partner Francesco Molinari, was pleased with his performance on a testing day at Walton Heath.
“It felt really, really tough,” he said. “But overall I hit a ton of good shots. I putted very well. I holed out well. But the pace of the greens is not easy.
“You can get a lot of putts where it’s very difficult to get the pace, and you can end up with a lot of three-, four-, five-footers, so did that well, and nice to finish off the round with a birdie. Always makes it feel better.”
Fleetwood’s only blemish came at the 17th but he was happy to shrug that off, especially given the circumstances.
“It wasn’t my finest approach shot to a par-three, but that was something different for sure,” he said.
“Luckily it didn’t go in the beer because it would have ruined a drink and the golf ball. But bogey there is fine. It’s not something you get too angry about around here today.”
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