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Molinari relishes duel with friend Fleetwood to be Europe's No.1


By Phil Casey

Francesco Molinari insists he is fit to battle Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood for the title of European No.1, even though his Paris heroics left him unable to tie his shoes.

Molinari and Fleetwood became the first European pair to win all four of their matches together at Le Golf National, with Open champion Molinari going on to match Larry Nelson as the only players to compile a perfect 5-0 record under the current format.

The duo will be reunited in the first two rounds of this week's British Masters at Walton Heath, with team-mate Thorbjorn Olesen completing the marquee group, as Fleetwood seeks to close the gap of 1.4million points to Molinari at the top of the Race to Dubai.

"It's going to be a little strange to try and beat each other instead of playing as a team," Molinari said. "Winning the Race to Dubai is the big goal I have, but there's Tommy and many other guys who are chasing me.

"There's still a lot of points and money to play for, so what I can do is try to approach day by day, tournament by tournament, like I've done so far, and do my best.

"It's been a great summer but it's been tiring. I think it's going to be important to manage my mental energies more than anything and I'd love to do it. I know it's not going to be easy but I'm going to do my best to try and achieve it.

"This summer has been a bit of a blur.

"My back at the end of the Ryder Cup was not great. On Monday, I couldn't do my shoelaces. I'm not a kid like Tommy. I need to manage my energies and my body."

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