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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Tommy Fleetwood 'jaded' but refusing to give up hope of Race to Dubai defence

Englishman trails Ryder Cup partner and British Open champion Molinari with just a few events before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship

Tommy Fleetwood, right and Francesco Molinari were perfect playing partners at the Ryder Cup, but are now in a battle for the Race to Dubai crown. AFP
Tommy Fleetwood, right and Francesco Molinari were perfect playing partners at the Ryder Cup, but are now in a battle for the Race to Dubai crown. AFP

Tommy Fleetwood is not giving up hope of retaining his Race to Dubai crown, despite feeling "jaded" ahead of the final few weeks of the golf season.

Fleetwood is second in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings British Open champion and Ryder Cup playing partner Francesco Molinari, with whom he won all four of their matches together at Le Golf National in Europe's victory over the United States last month.

The duo will be reunited in the first two rounds of this week's British Masters at Walton Heath as Fleetwood seeks to close the gap of 1.4 million points to the other half of the "Moliwood" pair.

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However, the Englishman, who is the two-time defending champion of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, admitted a long and gruelling season is starting to take its toll.

"I'm starting to feel jaded a little bit," Fleetwood said. "I practised at home on Monday so I am still trying to tick over and work on things and get better."

Fleetwood, who will play in China and Turkey before contesting the season-ending event at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, added: "I'm a long way behind but it's the opposite of last year in that I led all year last year and this year for the final few events I'm kind of chasing it now.

"I might get nowhere near and it's a stretch as a goal to think about it, but I'd love to play Dubai with a chance. I'd love to get in contention in a couple of events and maybe win one.

"There's probably people I would prefer to beat, but if it came down to me and Fran either way I'm going to be more than happy whichever way that would turn out."

Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn is also in the field at Walton Heath, although the 47-year-old is not overly concerned about his performance.

"Shooting 84 or 64 is not going to make any difference in my mind," he said. "I'm going to enjoy 2018 for what it has been and then figure out what is in store for me going forward.

"It's been fun to reflect on the Ryder Cup and I keep saying to the players that we will always have that moment in time and that's pretty cool."