Fleetwood eyes WGC Match Play bid in China

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Several players at the RBC Heritage are eyeing a move into the top 64 in the world rankings, but the OWGR watch extends to China, as well.

The top 64 players in Monday's ranking will qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship later this month. That's a significant incentive for England's Tommy Fleetwood, who is contending at the inaugural Shenzhen International on the European Tour with hopes of earning a trip to San Francisco.

Fleetwood entered the week tied at No. 66 with Francesco Molinari, and after a third-round 69 at Genzon Golf Club the 24-year-old will begin the final round in a tie for fourth, four shots behind Kiradech Aphibarnrat. That finish is currently projected to move him as high as No. 62, which would earn him a spot in his first WGC event.

Fleetwood is benefitting from a relative lack of activity near the bubble: only three players ranked Nos. 61-68 are in action this week, and No. 65 Miguel Angel Jimenez is not eligible for OWGR points while defending his title at the Greater Gwinnett Championship on the Champions Tour.

Ben Martin entered the week in the coveted No. 64 spot, and he begins the weekend at Harbour Town inside the top 25. Another player making the top-64 target somewhat fluid is Kevin Streelman, who is No. 71 and in the top 10 in Hilton Head after rounds of 71 and 65.

This is not Fleetwood's first flirtation with an OWGR bubble. In December he went down to the wire with countryman Danny Willett in the year's final event in Thailand, each hoping to move into the top 50 and earn a trip to the Masters. That invite ultimately went to Willett, who ended the year No. 50, while Fleetwood finished No. 51.