Tommy Fleetwood fires into contention as he seeks back-to-back Race to Dubai titles

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Tommy Fleetwood fires into contention as he seeks back-to-back Race to Dubai titles

Euro Tour

Tommy Fleetwood fires into contention as he seeks back-to-back Race to Dubai titles

Tommy Fleetwood sent a simple message to Francesco Molinari in the second round of the $8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai: the 2019 race to be European No. 1 is not over.

Fleetwood, the reigning European No. 1, returned a 5-under 67 to move into joint sixth place with Rory McIlroy on 8 under, three shots behind leader Matt Wallace. Molinari scored a 73 to slip 22 places from fifth overnight to joint 27th.

Fleetwood needs to win and hope Ryder Cup teammate Molinari finishes worse than fifth to top the European Tour money list, the Race to Dubai, for the second straight season.

“Every shot seems very important,” Fleetwood said. “It’s just a completely different feeling to any other week of the year. They are experiences that you have to have and that you want, but yeah, every shot just like a little bit more heightened. All your senses are a little bit heightened and every shot means that little bit more because it all comes down to this. From a tournament perspective, 72 holes is a long time, but it’s a very short period of time that we’ve got left now in the grand scheme of the year.”

Wallace is chasing his fourth win of the season, and fifth in the last two years. The Englishman returned a bogey-free 65 to assume control of the tournament at the halfway stage.

“That’s up there with one of the best this year,” Wallace said. “With it being in round two, as well, it’s nice. Haven’t done that much this year, improving on the first round. I seem to play really nice the first day and just go backwards. That was nice today and hopefully more on the weekend.”

Despite three wins already this season, and narrowly missing out on a Ryder Cup debut, Wallace has adopted a new attitude for the final event of the 2018 season.

“I’ve got rid of all the expectations that have come with playing well and winning,” he said. “I’ve expected higher from myself and that’s just killed me. I’m playing with freedom now, and trying to place as high as I possibly can come the back nine holes on Sunday, and then that’s when I normally will try and kick in and want to win a tournament, depending on where I am. Last week was the best week I’ve had mentally because I had no expectations and I finished fifth (in the Nedbank Golf Challenge).”

Wallace holds a one-shot lead over fellow Englishmen Jordan Smith and Danny Willett, and Spain’s Adrian Otaegui.

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