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July 2, 2017

Tommy Fleetwood

Paris, France

BRIONY CARLYON: Congratulations, Tommy Fleetwood, winner of the HNA Open de France, the second Rolex Series event of the year. Can 2017 get any better at the moment? Tell us your thoughts about this week.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, it keeps going, doesn't it. Just been a great week from start to finish. Coming off the back of good golf, U.S. Open and BMW in Germany, felt like I've been swinging it well. So it's good to put it into practise, and yeah, I've just kept up good form, really. Hit it great on Thursday, Friday.

Saturday I had to use different parts of my game, really. I know everybody talks about my ball-striking when it's good, but I felt like Saturday was equally impressive, just in a different way. I had to use my short game a lot, and I had to stay patient enough to stay in the tournament when I wasn't playing well.

Today, it's a day that I'll never forget; the way I felt coming down the stretch, the holes and the shots you have to hit. And yeah, winning, it's the best feeling by far, in golf. And to do it on this golf course in this event, Rolex Series event, just, you know, massive, massive bonuses, I guess.

Q. Talking a little about the putt on 18 and how far it was and how tough it was. Peter had made a couple birdies there.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Kind of took me by surprise that he got so close. I walked off 14 green, tapped in, I had got to 12, and the next best was 8. Got a four-shot lead with those four holes to play; I didn't really think that if I made four pars I would be waiting to see what happened behind me.

So yeah, I mean, 18, no matter how well you've played, you've still got those two shots to hit. I hit a great 3-wood off the tee. The iron shot, doesn't matter where it is; if it's on the green, it's a good shot.

And then the putt, it was a tough 2-putt, really. I did great to, it was four, four and a half feet, left lip, just inside left, and just hit the putt. That's all you can do, really. The more you think about it, the more problems you're going to have.

But yeah, at the same time, kind of took me by surprise, and I'd rather it not be that close. When you hole the putts under pressure that you know that you haven't got any leeway, it shows good character and it's great to have in your memory bank.

Q. You won 2013 at Gleneagles, the year before Ryder Cup, and to win here the year before Ryder Cup; nice thing to have in your bank, as well?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I didn't get in that Ryder Cup, though. Hopefully this one is different. Won on two Ryder Cup courses, very well.

I think it's great that I've played well like I have done this week. Everybody was very quick to talk about that I haven't had much success. I have played four, maybe five times; haven't made a cut. Abu Dhabi, I had only made one cut in six starts. It's funny how golf goes sometimes.

The course, it's funny, I turned up, and the course does really play into the way I've done this week, and it sets up well for me. It's a good start. Like I said, I wish the points could have started a few months ago for The Ryder Cup, so I'll have to wait and keep my form.

Great omens, and it's good to show good golf on the course that the Ryder Cup is going to be on. Hopefully I'll be there.

Q. Can you tell us more about your mind-set during the whole week and especially during the final round? How did you manage to cope?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I was happy to get through yesterday sort of unscathed, sort of still in the tournament, and I was still only one behind. I played poor, basically.

And then today, whenever you tee off on a Sunday and you're in contention and you have a chance to win, your adrenaline is pumping and you're more nervous than probably a Thursday or a Friday when you start.

Now you've really got a chance to win. You've got 18 holes to go. I nearly holed my first two iron shots. The 8-iron come close on 1. And then 2, I've still -- I'll never know how that didn't go in.

I think the way I started hitting it early on, it was clear that my swing was with me. I felt good. The only problems that I could have was that if I got in my own way; if I started thinking negatively; if I started backing away; if I started worrying about what was going on around me.

As long as I trusted myself and as long as I concentrated on where I wanted to hit it, my start lines, my finish lines, just like we've talked about all week, I felt that was the only thing to do.

The whole back nine, some really difficult shots to hit. 12 was such a tough hole with that pin today. I holed a great putt on 12.

13, not an easy tee shot with the water on the right. You're always going to sort of end up -- you want to be on the fairway but the chances are it's left semi, left rough.

And then 15, 16, 17, 18, stand up and be a man and hit the shots, because there's no other way. I hit great iron shots. 15 and 16 were exactly where I wanted to hit them, and 18, hit the green.

But I think I felt comfy and confident all day. The better I played and sort of the further the round got on, it's always difficult to keep your excitement down because you're in with a chance and it was looking good with a four-shot lead and four to play.

But like I say, those last few holes make you hit the shots. You can't back out. Either hit good shots or, yeah, you're in trouble.

Q. Just looking ahead at The Open Championship, it's kind of close to home for you. Wondering how well you know Royal Birkdale and how you feel about going there for that tournament.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It's obviously going to be an amazing experience support-wise. It's the one course in the area that I've probably got the least experience on, just because of the exclusivity of it; it's Royal Birkdale. But I live an hour away now, so that's the first year The Open's there and I've got a longer drive to go, but I can still stay at home.

But I think looking at it and people wishing me good luck and people talking about it, it's going to be an experience that I've never had in my life and I think very few people get the chance to have a home crowd that's massively in your favor and play a tournament where, however many people will be watching me, will all want me to do well.

So I mean, good or bad, whatever the draw is, however I play, it's going to be an experience that I'll never forget just for the sheer support I think that I'm going to have, which is exciting in itself to look forward to.

Q. Your performance in the recent weeks was really good over the U.S. Open and the French Open. Do you have the self-confidence to win a major in the next few weeks, maybe in your own home country?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I hope so. If I play well or I don't play well, it won't be down to lack of belief in myself. I've put a lot of work in in my time, and I'm clearly -- I don't have to say it really, but I'm on the form of my life.

So yeah, sometimes you just can't control how you play or how others play. But it won't be down to lack of sort of self-belief when it comes down to having to play. We'll just have to see what happens. If my game stays in the shape it's been in; U.S. Open I felt was a massive breakthrough for me, getting up there in a major.

And I might not have played good enough on Sunday and Brooks played amazing, but it was good to see how I felt. I felt very comfortable. I felt the more I got into the rounds, I felt like I could do it. I felt like I could perform in a major on a late Sunday environment.

So I welcome the challenge to see if I can do it or not. The more I can get into contention in majors, the better, really.

Q. Can you describe a bit more about those two first iron shots you were talking about, especially the one on the second?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, the first was basically a nice 8-iron yardage, 148 yards but into the wind off the right. Pin is front left -- oh, well, back left, but front considering it's just over the water. Started it online.

The good thing this week, I had good start lines and I could start it on the TV stand at the back, let it draw. I actually thought it might go in. I don't think it was as close as what it looked like from where I was. But great sort of iron shot to start with. You want the easiest start possible, really. I know I missed the putt, but it was obviously a calming way to get into the round.

And then the second I'm sure it was 136 yard downhill, a little bit downhill. The only worry was is it going to spin too much, really, but you had to hit the shot. It was a perfect for a 52-degree. Once it pitched, I knew it was a good shot in the air but once it pitched and then started spinning, it looked like from where we were it can't miss. Didn't look like it was going to slow down or anything. Got up there and it must have been 1/95th of a roll from going in. I still don't know how it defied gravity and stayed up.

Q. You're now The Race to Dubai leader, if I'm correct. How do you feel about this position?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Like a leader. With the start I had this year, it's very easy to sort of look at The Race to Dubai and want to look towards the end of the year. Winning The Race to Dubai, it's going to be tough. I was a long way ahead and then Sergio won the Masters. You can't control what other people do. With how strong the Tour is, there's no reason why people can't win majors. It might be me; it might be someone else.

But yeah, it's great to be leading The Race to Dubai. It is something that I'll look at now and no matter what happens, come the last event, I'm going to have a chance of winning the Order of Merit. It's, again, something new, something I've never done, but something very exciting. Not a lot of people get to do it and not a lot of people win, and it's a very sort of exclusive club of players that have won The Race to Dubai.

So to be part of it would be very special and hopefully my form continues and at the end of the year I have a chance.

BRIONY CARLYON: Congratulations again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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