Cape Town - Tommy Fleetwood has his sights set on a double-double at
this year's Open de France, the third Rolex Series event of the year, as
the Englishman prepares to defend his title from June 28-July 1.
The world No 12 is the first star to confirm his return
to Le Golf National, which is also the host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Fleetwood has already enjoyed a stellar start to his 2018
campaign, when he became only the second player to successfully defend his
title in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, and now,
the 27-year-old is relishing the opportunity to do it all over again in France.
A double-double is now on the Englishman's radar, as he
looks to follow in the footsteps of two-time Major winner Graeme McDowell, who
was the last player to successfully defend continental Europe's oldest national
Open in 2014.
"Winning the Open de France was a huge boost for me
last year and the confidence I got from that victory really propelled me
towards some great results and my best year on the European Tour," said
"I didn't get the chance to defend the title I won at Gleneagles
back in 2013, but with Abu Dhabi going pretty well earlier this year, I'm
hoping it is a trend of things to come."
Fleetwood's win last year was the first Rolex Series title
to his name and ultimately helped
him finish the 2017 season as Europe's No 1 player after being crowned
Race to Dubai Champion in Dubai last November.
"Everyone knew the Rolex Series events were major points in
the year and if you could do well in those events, then those are the ones that
are going to make a difference, so to win one was important. If you could pick
one to win over the year you’d pick one of those eight and you'd be very happy," he said.
"At the time, I felt it was my tournament to lose because I
was that confident with the way I was hitting it. I still think that is the
best my golf swing has felt in my career at the moment.
"As hard as the golf course is, you've got the four
toughest holes coming in. When you're the one with everything to lose, that is
when you can show everyone who you are and what you are made of. I was very
proud of the shots that I hit coming in, even down to that two putt on the
last, I did it when I needed to."
Fleetwood, who also received the Seve Ballesteros Award as
the European Tour Players' Player of the Year, is also looking forward to the
challenge of cementing his place in Thomas Bjørn's European Team ahead of the Ryder Cup, with extra qualification points for the biennial contest on
offer during the event.
"Being in the situation where I have a chance of making
that Ryder Cup team, you know you can't take your foot off the gas, and it
doesn't matter how many good results you have, you are never home and dry, you
are never in the team just yet. It shows how good our tour is and how good
European golf is at the moment."