There seems no question of Tommy Fleetwood fretting over what might have been. Not only is that useful for the Englishman’s state of mind, it is perfectly correct in respect of a US Open where he produced a history-matching round to move within a whisker of glory.
Fleetwood’s closing 63 at Shinnecock Hills afforded him second place to Brooks Koepka. Fleetwood’s round placed him in esteemed company; no player has shot 62 in the US Open.
“There are obviously so many positives about the day,” Fleetwood said. “I had a chance to make history and I wouldn’t do anything differently; I made my highest finish in a major and it’s just more proof that I can get up there. I did it a bit differently this time because I struggled and fell away a bit in the third round but came back really well.
“Overall it’s another great week. I have been playing consistently without any really big results and this one came out of the blue a little bit with a great performance on Sunday but there are so many positives. You’re always going to be a bit disappointed to come up one short in a major but I’ll give it another go.”
On the final green, Fleetwood stood over a 9ft putt with the chance to seal the magic number of 62 that would obviously have carried wider significance with a major on the line. He has no regrets regarding a chance which slid agonisingly past the right side of the hole.
“The shot you would look at is the putt at the last obviously but I shot seven under and tied the lowest round in US Open history,” Fleetwood said.
“I did a lot this week; on Saturday I made some great putts and up and downs in the last five holes when I wasn’t playing well. I shot the lowest round of the day on Friday and Thursday I really stuck in all the way round. It’s difficult to look at just one shot. I have beaten everybody but one player in one of the biggest events in the world so one shot – it kind of is what it is.”
Fleetwood now heads for the European Tour and the BMW International Open in Germany, which begins on Thursday. He will tee off without his caddie and best friend, Ian Finnis, whose wife – the former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis – is due to give birth on Tuesday.
Fleetwood’s next opportunity to follow in the footsteps of legends is only a matter of weeks away. The fact the Open Championship takes place at Carnoustie, where he carded a course record 63 in last year’s Dunhill Links Championship, will naturally intensify pre-tournament focus on the 27-year-old.
“After this finish the next really big one people will look at is the Open and I have put my name in the frame again,” he admitted. “Hopefully that will be another good week. Once it gets to next week this week is gone, that’s the nature of this game, but the Open is a week I will be really looking forward to.
“I think I can compete in any company. I’d like to do it more. The majors and big events eventually bring the best players to the top so if I play well or not I always find playing the big events very motivating because it shows you where the game is at. They are the ultimate tests of golf and it shows you where you are at and what you need to improve. I have plenty of improving to do.”
A curious aspect of US Open Sunday related to Fleetwood finishing his round and holding a prominent leaderboard position some three hours before Koepka strode from the 18th green. Fleetwood had to prepare as if a play-off could be forthcoming.
“I always felt I was one shy but Brooks kept giving me a little bit of hope until he stabbed me in the stomach a little bit by holing another putt,” Fleetwood explained. “I never really got massively excited. We started warming up still with a little chance but that time goes pretty quickly.”