Tommy Fleetwood takes positives after strong finish in Abu Dhabi
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 19/01/20 2:19pm
Tommy Fleetwood was encouraged by noticeable signs of progress after making a strong finish to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
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The two-time Abu Dhabi champion made a slow start to his year after following a one-under 71 with a bogey-free 70 over the first two days, only to make a late charge up the leaderboard during an impressive weekend display.
Fleetwood carded a five-under 67 on Saturday before marking his 29th birthday with a joint-low round-of-the-week 63 in the final round, seeing the Englishman end the week in a share of second and two strokes behind Lee Westwood
"I'm very, very happy with my weekend," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I played some really good golf. As the week progressed, my prep's been good and my iron play has been brilliant.
"Over the weekend, I feel like it's been as sharp as it has been for the last year and years gone by. Putted well over the weekend, so the game is progressing. I didn't make many bogeys; that's something to be happy with.
"It's always the first week of the year, and you never quite know what's going to turn up, so happy that I performed, happy with how I feel and it was nice getting the juices flowing really, on the last, knowing that I could post a score."
Victor Perez matched Fleetwood's 63 to also get to 17 under, while Matt Fitzpatrick - who briefly held a share of the lead during the final day - completes the tie-for-second after a bogey-free 67.
"Apart from one missed putt, I wouldn't take a shot back," Fitzpatrick said. "That's a great feeling and despite not enough to win, it's been a great week.
"Front nine I felt like could I hole everything and managed to hole one putt for par, which was nice to keep a bit of momentum going. On the back nine, just couldn't make a thing.
"It was just one of those days, but hey, that's golf. I'm delighted. You're always a little bit nervous when you come into the start of the year after taking so much time off, so to come back and play as well as I felt I have done is a positive."