Tommy Fleetwood shoots 66 in the third round of The Open this morning at Royal Birkdale.

Having made the cut last night right on the mark, today the Southport golfer followed up to give his army of fans something to really cheer about for the first time this week.

The gusting winds and showers of the first two rounds at Birkdale were replaced with just the gentlest of breezes and even sunshine this morning, and despite some testing pin positions, Fleetwood took full advantage of the relative calm, playing in the second pair of the morning with Justin Rose.

“It was lovely,” said Fleetwood, 26, after his round, which placed him at one over par and in a tie for 31st at the time of writing. “We had perfect conditions. It would have been nice to get back to level and feel like I’m putting the pressure on tomorrow but to shoot 66 is lovely.”

Fleetwood was a sorry figure after posting a first round of 76, six over par, before clawing his way into the weekend field with a second round of 69. Then this morning he produced the brand of golf for which his packed galleries had been waiting, including a brilliant eagle on the par-five 15th, to card a 66, four under par.

This is Fleetwood’s fourth Open and the first time he has made the cut, although pre-tournament expectations could not have been much higher for the player born and raised in Southport.

The former Walker Cup golfer has won twice on the European Tour in 2017 to see his world ranking shoot up to 14.

“For starters I was glad to be making the weekend after the first round,” added Fleetwood. “Yesterday was one of the best rounds of the year and it just gave me a chance to play two more days. It would have been pretty rubbish staying home for the weekend.

“Obviously, this is an experience you don’t get every week. It’s been amazing having the support, getting clapped on to every green and every tee and by people you know.

“I’ve loved being talked about as having a chance to win a major and as one of the favourites. That’s what you practise for. That’s what you dream of and that’s basically where everybody wants to be. So if you don’t like it when you get there, then you’ve been doing something wrong for the last 20 years.”

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz – an Official Patron and the Official Car of The Open