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Posted April 8, 2019, 8:44 pm
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Tommy Fleetwood seeks consistency, first U.S. win at Masters

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    Tommy Fleetwood hits from a bunker during the first practice round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Monday, April 8, 2019, in Augusta, Georgia. [ALLEN EYESTONE/FOR THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

The Masters Tournament isn’t new to Tommy Fleetwood, but he’s hoping to get something different out of it.

Still searching for his first American victory, Fleetwood has come close on two of golf’s biggest stages. At the 2018 U.S. Open, he put together an unbelievable final round that almost absolved a 78 on Saturday. He missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole that, at that point, would have tied eventual winner Brooks Koepka and post the first 62 in tournament history.

Photos: Masters Monday Practice Round

In March, he shared a lead with Rory McIlroy through 36 holes in The Players Championship, only to go 70-73 over the final two rounds and tie for fifth.

“Winning is what it's all about, not for anything than to win tournaments and big tournaments, The Players or the majors, and you know, I want to win them, not for a financial standpoint of anything. It would just be nice to have on my résumé,” he said.

Fleetwood’s struggles following the cut have been an unpleasant trend. A rough weekend at the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie erased a Friday 65. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was a similar story, with a 74-71 following a 66-63 Thursday and Friday. A Saturday 76 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill overshadowed three other excellent rounds of golf.

The 28-year-old knows a lot can happen over 72 holes, but emphasizes the importance of putting yourself in contention. He also acknowledges the level of competition and tough courses they play.

“To win, you're always going to have bad stretches but you know, you have to put four consistent rounds of golf together, or three and then the fourth one needs to go OK. A poor round is not going to get it done,” he said. “You play the toughest golf courses and you play with some of the best players in the world and winning's not easy, but that ‑‑ I think the fact that that is what we're looking at quite often now just shows that I've done really well over the past couple of years. I've put myself up there a lot, and it really is just a case of letting it happen, and the more you dwell on it and the more you try, it gets harder and harder.”

Fleetwood is competing in his third Masters. He missed the cut in 2017 and tied for 17th last year. He stresses that his routine doesn't change for the Masters but admitted that the Augusta National requires more preparation.  

,“There's so many different things to consider," he said. "there's so many options here and there, and particularly hitting into greens, chipping around the greens and putting; I don't think you can ever learn enough.”

Fleetwood didn’t play a practice round Monday. He instead spent a considerable amount of time working on shots out of the bunkers. That said, he considers the driver his biggest asset on the course.

“From my perspective, driver is always a massively important club. And if I use my strength well, it opens up a lot of opportunities for me on the golf course, especially if it's playing soft,” he said. “I guess around Augusta, it's always going to be ‑‑ I think people make a big deal about the greens and around the greens, but if your approach play is hot and really good, most of the time you're going to put yourself in the right positions and you're going to be able to score from there, and it's very difficult to hole putts from around here.”