Everton fan Tommy Fleetwood hails ‘special support’ of Royal Liverpool crowd after being roared to the top of the leaderboard at The Open

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Everton fan Tommy Fleetwood hails ‘special support’ of Royal Liverpool crowd after being roared to the top of the leaderboard at The Open

  • Tommy Fleetwood’s 66 on Thursday equalled his lowest score at the Open
  • He was roared on after every shot with cries of ‘Come on Tommy, lad’
  • The world No 21 grew up 30 miles down the road from Hoylake

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Tommy Fleetwood hailed the ‘special’ support of the Royal Liverpool crowd as he posted his lowest opening round in a major to sit joint-top of the Open leaderboard.

The world No 21 made six birdies, including three in a row at 14, 15 and 16, to post a five-under 66 and share the lead with amateur Christo Lamprecht and Emiliano Grillo as he bids to become the first Englishman to win the Open since Nick Faldo in 1992.

Everton fan Fleetwood, who grew up 30 miles down the road from Hoylake, was roared on after every shot with cries of ‘Come on Tommy, lad’, a catchphrase of the round.

Later, he was asked if it had felt like he was playing at Goodison Park. ‘It was very cool — you can’t ask for more from the fans,’ said Fleetwood. ‘They were so great to me. I’d love to play Goodison, I’d give that a go!

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‘One of the things that we’ve said this week is what an amazing time it is for us to be out on the golf course with that support, playing in an Open. It’s very, very special.

Tommy Fleetwood’s 66 at Hoylake on Thursday equalled his lowest score at the Open

Tommy Fleetwood’s 66 at Hoylake on Thursday equalled his lowest score at the Open

The Englishman was roared on after every shot with cries of ‘Come on Tommy, lad’

The Englishman was roared on after every shot with cries of ‘Come on Tommy, lad’

‘It’s always going to be a great time, having the support like that. But on top of that, playing a great round, it does feel really good. I’ll always be a North West boy and to have so many people out there from the area was great. I am one of them. I’m glad I gave them some good golf to watch.’

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Fleetwood’s 66 equalled his lowest score at the Open, matching rounds at Royal Birkdale in 2017, Royal Portrush in 2019 and St Andrews last year.

None of those came in the opening round, in which he has often struggled, and Fleetwood was pleased he could fly out of the traps and increase hopes that he can emulate Faldo at Muirfield and also become the first Englishman to win it in England since Tony Jacklin in 1969. 

‘In any tournament, you just want to get off to a fast start,’ added Fleetwood. ‘It’s not been my strength, so to get something going today felt really good.

‘As first rounds go, that’s absolutely the one you want and to get off to a good start feels great.’

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