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Tommy to tee it up in Ireland

TOMMY Fleetwood is hoping a look at the Irish will help boost his hopes of Open glory.

The Southport golfer has announced he will be taking part in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in early July.

Two weeks later The Open Championship makes a return to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951.

The 2017 Race to Dubai winner believes the chance to experience links golf ahead of the annual battle for the Claret Jug will stand him in good stead.

The Irish Open takes place at the famous Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare, which is regularly ranked among the world’s top 100 courses.

Fleetwood is seen as one of the star names for the event, after proving himself one of the heroes of Europe’s Ryder Cup success in France last year where his formidable partnership with Open winner Francesco Molinari earned them the tag “Moliwood”.

“It’s perfect preparation for The Open,” said the four-time European Tour winner. “Links golf, especially around that time of the year, we have such a great run of events, and it’s very important to just get that feel.

“We very rarely play that kind of golf throughout the year, so any chance you get to have a feel for it, and play in some slightly different shots, get a feel for how the ball reacts in the wind and the turf, I’m looking forward to it.”

The championship is hosted by Paul McGinley and Fleetwood sees his appearance as a chance to pay back the Irishman for helping him out during the early stages of his life as a tournament professional.

“I’m very excited about it because I missed it last year and I was really disappointed because golf in Ireland is one of those places I’ve always enjoyed playing, and to get that chance again this year, it’s going to be fun,” said the 28-year-old.

“It will be great, they are real true golf fans and I’m very happy that I can support Paul. He’s always been great with me from my first few years on Tour, and always took the time to give me advice.

Fleetwood will be joined by Shane Lowry, winner of the first Rolex Series event in 2019, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, for the event, which takes place from July 4-7.

The 148th Open takes place from July 14.