Fleetwood: Ryder Cup experience can boost my Open hopes

Tommy Fleetwood plans to draw on his Ryder Cup experience as he bids to claim a maiden major at The Open this weekend.

Fleetwood was one of the heroes of Team Europe’s resounding victory at Le Golf National last year, forming a memorable partnership with 2018 Open winner Francesco Molinari.

While the Italian looks set to relinquish his grasp on the Claret Jug, the other half of the ‘Moliwood’ duo is in contention at Royal Portrush following rounds of 68 and 67.

And Fleetwood feels his coolness amid the madness of a Ryder Cup and ability to use the crowd’s support to his advantage could play a role in Northern Ireland.

“The Ryder Cup, nothing gets more nerve-wracking than that, kind of except when you’re coming down the stretch trying to win a major,” he said after setting the clubhouse lead at seven under on Friday.

“The support is just great and it’s a bonus, really. I think for me personally I always feel like I do a very good job of staying within myself and playing my game and doing my thing and having a good focus.

“But the support that we get, especially if we play home events, I’ve always said I consider myself lucky that wherever I go I get good support.

“But especially when you play an Open or home event. If it’s not quite going your way, they can pick you up.

“And if it is going your way, they can fly with you and you can right it. It’s great for us. The number of British players that are here all say the same: Playing in front of your home crowd is the best.”

A key difference between Fleetwood and Molinari is the fact the latter can claim to be a major winner and that is one area where the Englishman is desperate to emulate his close friend.

“He’s done great. He’s obviously built a lot of confidence over the years, and he’s made himself into a prolific winner and major winner at that,” said Fleetwood.

“I love the way he goes about things. He’s built a great team around him. There’s a lot of similarities between us except, you know, a couple more wins and a major in there. So I’ve got a bit of work to do.”