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25th June 2010

Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood would dearly love to win the Brabazon Trophy, supported by SkyCaddie, and he has made a superb start to his quest with a three-under-par 69 on a tricky opening day at Royal Liverpool .

His return was matched by Slovenia international Tim Gornik but they were among only six players to better par as a testing wind, a fiery course and slick greens took their toll of the quality field.

Fleetwood's performance was all the more exemplary as it comes in the middle of a busy schedule that has seen him represent Lancashire, reach the last 16 of the Amateur Championship and travel to France to qualify for the French Open before arriving in Hoylake (picture © Tom Ward).

"I was getting tired towards the end but I've played a lot recently," he said. "My score could have been a few better but you can't win it in the first round. I had plenty of chances and secured five birdies but the putts didn't really drop.

"The Amateur was a stressful week and I was up this morning at 6am. But I know this course quite well although I haven't played off some of these tees."

There is every indication that the 19 year old from Formby Hall will play all four rounds and next week comes the French Open followed by the European Men's Team Championships in Sweden. So it is a busy schedule.

Gornik, shrugging off his country's exit from the European soccer Championships by England and sporting a damaged nose, courtesy of a fall off his bicycle at home, matched Fleetwood's effort with six birdies. "I was scrambling but I hit a lot of good chips and I putted well. The short game is my strength," he admitted."

At college in America, Gornik, 19, from Ljubljana, came home in 33 for his 69 then admitted: "I only play links golf when I come to the UK. I played in the Carris Trophy at Wallasey two years ago but I missed the cut in the Amateur last week."

The pair are a stroke ahead of Welsh international Alistair Jones and Hertfordshire's Callum Shinkwin, who finished runner-up in his county championship last week. Both were out early and set the target, Jones with birdies at the final three holes despite this being his first visit to Hoylake.

"The secret around here is to be patient," he added. "But I putted well with a few long ones and that is one strength of my game."

The Welsh Youth Champion for the past two years, Jones, 20, is at Texas State University. He played in last year's Home Internationals and, like Fleetwood and Gornik, will head to Sweden next week for the European Team Championships.

Shinkwin, 17, was pleased with his effort. "I remember Tiger Woods playing here and his secret was to play away from the bunkers," he said. "I did the same and only got into one but you've also got to hit the right clubs."

Play starts at 7am in the first two days and 7.30am on the last two and admission is free. For those unable to attend, live scoring and news updates are available on the Championships Section of the EGU website, .



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