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RTD leader Fleetwood even surprised by success

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ANTALYA, Turkey – At this point last year, Tommy Fleetwood was ranked outside the top 100 in the world and wasn’t exactly a household name even back home in England.

That has changed dramatically as evidenced by the fact that on Wednesday at the Turkish Airlines Open both Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, two of Europe’s top players the last decade, were asked about Fleetwood.

It’s all part of a new reality for Fleetwood, who has climbed to 19th in the world ranking and won twice on the European Tour in 2017.

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“If you had said at the start of the year, you’re going to be doing press conferences at The Open as one of the favorites to win and you’re going to be in Turkey leading the Race to Dubai and people asking you how you’re feeling, I would have said, ‘All right, yeah,’” he said.

Next year will include even more change, with Fleetwood taking up membership on the PGA Tour.

His first start as a Tour member will be at the Genesis Open and he said he has a busy schedule planned to assure he plays at least 15 events, which is the circuit minimum. Fleetwood also said he’s looking to establish a U.S. base and is currently considering Orlando, Fla., as his Tour home.

“Last year was the first year I’d really played a bit more over there, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Fleetwood, who leads Sergio Garcia by nearly 1 million points in the Race to Dubai standings. “I’m really going to enjoy playing over there. Something different.”