Tommy Fleetwood, up to world No 12 after his successful defence of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, has confirmed he’ll be back playing in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane this summer.
The 2017 Race to Dubai winner missed last year’s event at Dundonald Links, having played in the tournament five seasons in a row prior to that and finishing tenth behind Rickie Fowler when it was held for the first time at Gullane in 2015.
However, Fleetwood revealed after his weekend win in the United Arab Emirates, where he beat a line up that included world No 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, that he is set to be part of a star-studded cast on the East Lothian coast in July.
Justin Rose, the 2014 winner, and Matt Kuchar, who was runner-up the following year, had already confirmed their apparances at Gullane and, like them, Fleetwood will be using the event as part of his preparation for the Open Championship at Carnoustie the following week.
The 27-year-old Englishman will head into the Claret Jug event as the course record holder at the Angus venue after carding a nine-under-par 63 in the second round of last year’s Dunhill Links Championship, claiming that honour outright from a group that included Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie and Alan Tait.
“We’re definitely going to play Scotland this year,” Fleetwood told The Scotsman at Abu Dhabi Golf Club after his two-shot success on Sunday. “We can look ahead that far and know that I have two weeks in Scotland at that time of the year.
“Carnoustie is a course that I like. I’ve had a lot of good scores there. To be fair, in the 63 I hit it in a couple of spots where I probably wouldn’t have broke 70 maybe in The Open the way they set it up. I do like the course and I like how the holes set up.”
The centre of attention in the build up to last year’s Open Championship due to it being held in his home town of Southport, Fleetwood did well to make the cut after struggling to an opening 76 and ended up in the top 30 behind winner Jordan Spieth.
“Last year at The Open was kind of the biggest sort of euphoria I’ve ever had at a tournament, which was amazing,” he admitted. “And you know, honestly, that second round (a battling 69) was a better round than today (he closed with a 65 and came home in 30 in Abu Dhabi) to make the cut.
“We’ll see when The Open comes around this year how we’re feeling, but it’s a course that I’ve shot some good scores around and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.”
Fleetwood has tasted success in Scotland twice in his career, winning the Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship at Murcar Links in 2009 before recording his breakthrough European Tour triumph at Gleneagles in the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship.