2017 Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood and DP World Tour Championship victor Jon Rahm will both be hoping for Masters glory at their second attempt as they aim to emulate the success that saw them achieve monumental status at last year’s European Tour season-ending finale; the DP World Tour Championship.
Fleetwood has started the season brightly after defending the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in emphatic style and acquiring four top 20 finishes across the PGA and European Tour’s including a fourth-place finish at The Honda Classic. The 27 year old looks to continue his fine run of form at Augusta National where he will be teeing off alongside 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods and Marc Leishman for the opening two rounds.
“There could be some great storylines for golf this week,” said the four time European Tour winner. “I’m hoping for my sake that doesn’t happen and I’ll be in the mix come Sunday. If I play well I’ll have a chance if not then I’ll be watching and hopefully there is a nice story.”
The long-haired Englishman missed the cut at last year’s opening Major of the season after rounds of 78 and 74 but still thoroughly enjoyed the experience that he’s dreamed of competing in all his life.
“You get a real sense of appreciation when you turn up to Augusta National,” said Fleetwood. “It’s the hardest tournament in the world to get into so you really do feel it. Last year I missed the cut so I’m hoping to just concentrate and improve my game from last year.”
Meanwhile Spanish superstar Rahm heads into his second Masters older and wiser after feeling the pressure on his first appearance after rising to fame with triumph at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“I think this year’s tournament is going to be a little different than my first time,” said the 23 year old. “Last year there was a lot of expectation and anticipation after my form leading up to The Masters. I didn’t have a bad tournament but I have more maturity and experience now.
“Experience is a huge factor at Augusta National. You look at players like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods and they don’t have to play their best golf to win here because they know the course so well.”
The reigning Dubai Duty Free Irish Open champion could join a glowing list of Spaniards to win The Masters after Sergio Garcia, José María Olazábal and the late Seve Ballesteros completed the feat.
“I never actually got to see a Spanish player win a Green Jacket until Sergio because I was so young when José María Olazábal last won; I was barely five years old,” added Rahm. “I have seen videos of Seve’s wins and know that the Spaniards have a great history here so hopefully I can follow in their footsteps and be the next in line.”
Rahm’s journey to become the fourth Spanish winner of the event gets underway at 9:38pm on Thursday April 5 where he will tee off with former Masters winner Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy who is aiming to complete the career Grand Slam. Fleetwood gets his bid for a first Major underway at 6:42pm.