If Tommy Fleetwood ends up winning the 150th Open Championship on Sunday, he can pinpoint precisely when he was set on the road to glory.
Fleetwood’s third round of the Genesis Scottish Open was threatening to go from bad to worse when he followed a three-putt on the ninth by seemingly getting his ball stuck up a tree on the 11th.
But it then transpired that Fleetwood’s ball had been misidentified by a marshal and the Ryder Cup star went on to birdie the hole and three of the next four, shoot back-to-back 67s and finish fourth, his best result of the season.
“It just turned round on 11,” Fleetwood told the PA news agency. “They told me my ball was up a tree and it wasn’t. So I’ve gone from losing my ball and having to go back to the tee, to finding it and making birdie.
“Max (Homa) had hit the tree and come down and mine sounded like it hadn’t hit anything, just caught the edge of it, but they said my ball was in the tree.
“It was actually another ball and mine was another 50 yards further down in some rough, but I had a shot at the green. It was one of them (sic) days where nothing was going right and it was funny how things turn around.
“The game is just not coming easy at the moment, no matter how hard I work and how well or poorly I do things. I’m just going through one of those patches at the moment, maybe my ball not being stuck up a tree is the turn around I need.”
— Tommy Fleetwood (@TommyFleetwood1) June 10, 2022
Fleetwood missed the cut in his first three Open appearances, including at St Andrews in 2015, but finished runner-up to Shane Lowry at Royal Portrush in 2019 and is relishing the challenge posed by the Old Course this week.
“I would like the wind to blow, I’d like the conditions to be as rough as possible in a way, but I’m excited to see how they set it up,” he added. “It’s going to be an amazing experience, a great week and very special.
“I love the event. Whether my game is in the shape that I want it to be in and whether my performances have reflected that I can turn up and win a major is another thing, but you never know when the game is going to turn around.”
Fleetwood missed the cut in last month’s US Open but was glued to the TV in the closing stages as Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Fitzpatrick secured his first major title at Brookline.
“Everybody always has their time and I think Fitzy in particular has been arguably one of the best players on the planet at the moment,” he added.
“It’s definitely inspiring seeing somebody you know lifting those trophies. He’s so confident and is playing great.
“It’s one thing winning a major but I think the way he did it, how confident he must have felt coming down the stretch and the shots he was hitting was great to see. I’ll strive to get back to that level.”