Spotlight on: Tommy Fleetwood in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai

The Englishman has a strong record in the desert and is hoping he can land a first win of the campaign in the European Tour’s season-ending showdown on the Earth Course.

Coming into the European Tour's closing event of the season, Tommy Fleetwood is on a mission.

Surprisingly for the man who won the 2017 Race to Dubai, Fleetwood is without a victory on the European Tour since capturing the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa in November 2019.

That lack of a win and the big points that come from them, means he heads to the DP World Tour Championship only ranked 14th in the Race to Dubai.

That still makes Fleetwood an elite player but it's hard to comprehend that he's heading to the finale in Dubai beneath the likes of Richard Bland and Guido Migliozzi in the points standings.

Looking at the numbers, in 16 starts so far he's made 14 cuts but landed just four top 10s.

However, there is some good news for fans of Fleetwood and his backers.

He'll arrive at the Earth Course showing signs of a return to form and the 30-year-old has a history of success in the desert.

Let's take a look at the ways Fleetwood can be backed.

Fleetwood's current form

While his overall 2021 form is disappointing, Fleetwood's last few months suggest the next win may not be far away.

Tommy Fleetwood is starting to find some form again.
Tommy Fleetwood is starting to find some form again.

In September he finished in a tie for second at the Italian Open and then followed that with T12 in the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Since the Ryder Cup where he tied his singles with Jordan Spieth, Fleetwood has finished T7 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, T38 at the CJ Cup, T7 at the Zozo Championship in Japan and T13 in last week's AVIV Dubai Championship.

Looking at his stats last week, he was 11th for Strokes Gained: Approach, 14th Tee To Green but only 40th for SG: Putting (although recording a positive figure).

Fleetwood's course form/desert form

Fleetwood has played this event in each of the last eight years and has finished T21 or better in six of them.

The highlight was his runners-up finish in 2019 while he also made the top 10 in 2016 and 2021.

Elsewhere in the region, Fleetwood has a bunch of top-quality form.

He's a two-time winner of the Abu Dhabi Championship (2017 and 2018) and was second there in 2020.

He's not finished outside the top 20 in his last seven events in the UAE and four of those were top 10s.

Fleetwood in the first round

Fleetwood has held only three first-round leads on the European Tour and each time he shared top spot.

He's done it twice in the British Masters (2016 and 2018) while the other came in the 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship which he went on to win.

The Englishman was also the joint-leader after 18 holes of the 2019 Players Championship when shooting a 65.

But also note his fast starts in this event. Fleetwood was fourth after day one in 2019 and fifth following the first round in 2020.

He's also been making a mark early in recent events, sitting sixth after the opening lap in both his last two tournaments (AVIV Dubai Championship and Zozo Championship).

Fleetwood in a 72-hole match

PlanetSportBet have paired Fleetwood in a 72 Hole Match with Sergio Garcia.

The two have contested the same event this year 12 times and Sergio has dominated.

Sergio Garcia has outperformed Fleetwood in 2021
Sergio Garcia has outperformed Fleetwood in 2021

The Spaniard has shot the lowest score nine times to Fleetwood's two, with one tie.

However, in recent tournaments played in the UAE, Fleetwood has outscored Sergio in three of the last four.

Conclusion

Given the lack of a recent win, it's hard to make a really strong case in the outright market.

The numbers say he's a better bet for first-round leader.

Add in the filter of European Tour events and Fleetwood has finished day one inside the top 10 in eight of his last 11 starts. That's quite a stat.

When combined with his quick starts here in the last two years, Fleetwood is a smart each-way punt (1/4 1-2-3-4-5) to come out of the blocks fast.

Also look to him in the top 10 market. In his last 16 starts in the UAE he's made the top 10 in 50% of them.

READ MORE: Spotlight on Collin Morikawa in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai

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