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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Tommy Fleetwood misses out on back-to-back wins but says: 'I've had a great three weeks'

Tommy Fleetwood’s breakout 2017 has raised expectations. Most of all, within himself.

The reigning European No 1 confirmed as much last week in Abu Dhabi, days before he became the first player in seven years to successfully defend the Falcon Trophy.

So he arrived at this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic eying a second successive victory in a second successive outing.

In the end, Fleetwood finished an immensely creditable tied-sixth, posting a flawless, final-round 68 at Emirates Golf Club to conclude the tournament seven shots off winner Li Haotong, on 16-under par. For Fleetwood, it still concluded a pretty nice Desert Swing.

Everyone recognises going back-to-back is never easy. Even for someone as talented as the world No 12.

“Your expectations are so high,” Fleetwood said. “You've just played great. Winning takes a lot out of you, so your general energy levels take a while to recover and then your expectations are high. There's a number of things that go into it.

“Law of averages: if you're playing well, you should play well the next week and you should do well really. It doesn’t work like that and, for me, it's been a frustrating week.

“I just couldn't hit the shots that I wanted to hit most of the time and I couldn't get close enough. And when the scoring is so low around the golf course, it's difficult playing and not seeing yourself make those birdies. But I wouldn't take it back. It's difficult following up a win, but I'd quite happily give it a go.”

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Happy should sum up his mood after a strong start to 2018. Fleetwood starred for Europe at the EurAsia Cup a few weeks ago, before his successful stop in the UAE. There is a lot to look forward to, as well, with a shot at a first major crown to come and the Ryder Cup, later this year, in September. He hopes the good times roll on.

“It's been a great,” Fleetwood said. “Including the EurAsia Cup, I've had a great three weeks. It's been brilliant and a good week. When you're not on your game, you have to make those performances as good as you can. And I've done pretty good this week, so I'm happy. Time to have a little rest.”

It is definitely well-deserved. It will be all the more sweeter, too, since Fleetwood’s first child, Franklin, was born in October.

“Yeah,” he added. “I'm looking forward to getting home to the family big time.”