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Tommy Fleetwood continues strong form at Open de France in Paris

England's Tommy Fleetwood continued his superb recent form with an opening 67 in the £5.4million HNA Open de France at Le Golf National on Thursday.

Fleetwood, who followed his fourth place in the US Open with a tie for sixth in last week's BMW International Open, carded four birdies in a flawless opening round to lie a shot behind clubhouse leaders Nathan Kimsey, also from England, and Sweden's Alexander Bjork.

Tommy Fleetwood carded a first round 67 at the Open de France. Andrew Redington/Getty Images
The 26-year-old from Southport, who won his second European Tour title in Abu Dhabi in January, said: "It's brilliant, I played lovely.

"When you are playing really well and hitting the spots you want to hit you feel like you can make a score, but it's one of those courses where it's so difficult that I was lucky I didn't really get out of position all day and you have to make the most of it.

"It's a great event and great having people like Jon (Rahm) come and play. Everybody loves this course and says it's one of the best of the year."

Fleetwood was a lowly 188th in the world rankings last September, but has reaped the rewards of returning to his former coach Alan Thompson, who was rewarded with an emotional first trip to the Masters in April.

"I think it's the one thing that he's always wanted to do," Fleetwood added on Sky Sports. "It was a big deal.

"We drove in on Sunday or Monday morning and Magnolia Lane didn't really bother him. We were just chatting away and then as soon as we got out of the car he said 'You're going to have to leave me alone' and went off somewhere just to have a moment to himself.

"He's been great for me, we've been doing really good work and my swing's in the best place it's ever been. We get on great and he's a brilliant coach."

Kimsey, who won the qualifying school last year after coming through all three stages, recovered from a bogey on his opening hole -- the 10th -- to card five birdies in the next six on his way to a 66, which matched Bjork's flawless effort.

Former champions Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell were three off the pace after rounds of 69, while Rahm birdied his final hole to finish one under.

Source: http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/19765641/tommy-fleetwood-makes-strong-start-open-de-france-paris

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