Fleetwood goes low at Kingsbarns

Tommy Fleetwood shot a 63 at Kingsbarns to share the lead after two rounds of the Dunhill Links Championship.

Tommy Fleetwood shot a nine-under-par 63 at Kingsbarns on Friday to share the lead after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The Englishman, a former Walker Cup player and English Amateur champion whose victory at the Kazakhstan Open earlier this month took him to the top of the Challenge Tour rankings and secured him a place on the European Tour for 2012, lies on twelve under par for the tournament, tied with joint overnight leader Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland, who shot a 66 today, also at Kingsbarns.

Fleetwood won £55,000 for his victory in Kazakhstan, but he could earn himself more than 10 times that amount should he triumph in Scotland this week.

The 20-year-old from Southport carded nine birdies and no bogeys on Friday and was understandably pleased with his performance.

“It feels pretty good,” said Fleetwood. “It’s pretty unexpected to be honest. Just to get the invite and the experience of playing here is great.

“I didn’t hit it very well yesterday but I holed good putts on the first three or four holes today and didn’t really look back. I learn every time I play at the moment.

“The last couple of weeks I’ve had no pressure on me really. I know where I’m playing next year, which is great, and it’s definitely given me confidence because there was a bit of thought of ‘Can I win?’ because I had been in there so many times.

“I finally got it done, so let’s see if I can do it on the bigger stage now.”

With so many big names also in attendance this week, including five of the world’s top six, how does Fleetwood feel about the prospect of pitting himself against them over the weekend?

“It’s pretty cool,” he said.

“I’ve watched it on TV for years and pretty much analyse everything they do, try to learn off them, and obviously my name is in pretty good company right now.

“Hopefully I can shoot a decent score at Carnoustie tomorrow and then play with somebody like Martin Kaymer or Lee Westwood. That would be really cool.”

Joint leader Hoey, another former Walker Cup player who won that even back in 2001 when he was playing alongside Luke Donald, is seeking his second European Tour win of the year this weekend.

“I’ve always enjoyed this pro-am format,” said the 32-year-old. “A couple of years ago I was tied for the lead after two rounds. It’s slow, but it really takes your mind off stuff between shots.”

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who won the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010, is alone in third, one off the lead after shooting a 67 at Carnoustie to add to his opening 66 at Kingsbarns.

The 28-year-old will play his next two rounds at the Home of Golf in an effort to lift another trophy at the famed course.

Graeme McDowell is one of five players on 10 under, two off the lead, after shooting a second consecutive 67 – this time at Carnoustie.

Martin Kaymer shot the same score at the same course to lie on nine under, three back, while Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are both five shots back on seven under and still very much in with a shout.

World number one Luke Donald is a full eight shots adrift after a second-round one-under-par 71.