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Tommy Fleetwood aiming to make the most of fine Open form at Royal Portrush

Tommy Fleetwood and caddie Ian Finnis on the 18th hole at Royal Portrush after his second round 67 at The Open Championship (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Tommy Fleetwood and caddie Ian Finnis on the 18th hole at Royal Portrush after his second round 67 at The Open Championship (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

By Carl Markham

Tommy Fleetwood admits he has to seize the limited chances he gets to win a Major but he will not allow the quest to consume him.

His best two finishes came with back-to-back top-four places at the US Open in 2017 and 2018 and they remain his only two top-10 finishes in 17 visits to golf's premier events.

But he has been in the thick of things more often than that in recent times, albeit failing to convert good chances to win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship earlier in the year.

"When these chances come around you want to take them. It's your chance of putting your name in the history of the game," said the Southport golfer after a second-round 67 lifted him to seven-under and back in contention again.

"For sure, all of us dream of having Majors in our career and taking those opportunities.

"I think the other side of that is, like you say, you don't know how many times you're going to actually get the chance to compete at the back end of a draw on Saturday or Sunday in a Major and it's important to embrace it and enjoy it whatever happens.

"You have to realise what a lucky position you're in and how well you've done to get there.

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"For sure, I'm not going to tee off tomorrow and say I'm going to love this whatever happens. I want to make it happen. I want to win a Major.

"You've put yourself in contention with half of the event to go.

"But it really is important not to look at how much I want to win The Open, how much I can picture myself with the Claret Jug.

"It's about having lunch together, spending time with my family, getting up tomorrow, warming up, the first tee shot and that's as far as we can go for now."

The scrutiny the Ryder Cup star has come under is a consequence of not being able to match his consistency in last year's Majors.

He finished 17th in the Masters, second in the US Open after a record-equalling 63 in the final round, 12th in The Open and 35th in the US PGA.

Twelve months ago he was in a similar position to the one he finds himself at Royal Portrush, one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

However, he began the final day four shots off the pace and finished five behind eventual champion Francesco Molinari, who became his close friend with a brilliant partnership in September's Ryder Cup.

"I wasn't miles away with not very long in the tournament to go," he added.

"All you can do is put yourself up there and gain the experience that way. You can't do it any other way.

"And for me teeing off tomorrow or wherever I am on Sunday, at least I've got that behind me.

"I've just done too many poor stretches. The Masters, I didn't play great, but up until about nine on Sunday I had a chance at a top-10.

"At the PGA I was the second-best player in the field for 30 holes or something. The US Open I had a good front nine and then not much after that.

"There was good stretches in all of those Majors."

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