A thrilling spectacle under floodlights is a pleasure denied to most golf fans. That was until the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open earlier this month when Tyrrell Hatton was the last man standing in an enthralling six-man play-off.
Staged in remarkable circumstances, Matthias Schwab’s missed putt from close range handed victory to the man from Marlow, to secure his fourth European Tour title and first since the Italian Open in October 2017.
Hatton was understandably emotional in triumph, capping off a fine weekend and showing that steely resolve and extraordinary composure that was evident during his previous wins in Italy and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on two occasions.
Starting the year ranked 23rd in the world, Hatton fell to 48th after the CJ Cup in October, but with his Rolex Series win in Antalya he’s back up to 30th in the world.
Speaking to Sport360 at the Els Club, Audemars Piguet ambassador Hatton said: “That was a great win for me. Up until that point, it was a difficult year. I’ll look back on this year and say its successful cause of winning such a big tournament like that.
“With the Ryder Cup points that came with that victory in Turkey, it was pleasing. The Ryder Cup next year is a big goal for me so hopefully I can have a big start to the season and see where we go from there.”
The High Wycombe native was part of the successful European Ryder Cup team in 2018, picking up one point for his team in three matches.
And, although it is still early into the qualifying process for Whistling Straits next September, Hatton has shown his mettle on the back of the win in Turkey.
In the majors this year, he finished T56 and T48 at the Masters and PGA Championship respectively, improving as each round passed. He followed that up with T21 at the US Open in Pebble Beach and clinched a stunning T6 at the Open Championship in Portrush. Impressive finishes.
Other standout performances of the season were his top-10 finishes at the CJ Cup (T6), Charles Schwab Challenge (T8) and WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay (T9). There were also four top-20s thrown into the mix to cap off a solid all-round campaign.
“There were some good results, but it felt like a bit of a struggle. Maybe I’m fairly hard on myself. When you read results back, it makes it sound better than it felt,” said Hatton.
“You want to win as many tournaments as possible. You tend to judge yourself on them as well. Winning makes the season feel a lot better.”
His game is starting to feel good again and, at 28, he is still young and continuing to improve. Golf can be a fickle game at times and players need to stay patient as difficult as it can be when things are not going their way.
He has been coping with a lingering wrist injury since the 2017 Masters but some rest during the off-season is sure to regain that old power and flexibility to allow him to kick on again.
The new season will have its different challenges, different goals and different focuses, but Hatton has the confidence and talent to light up the big stage and get back to his career-best form. “Over the last month I feel like I’ve got my game back,” he said.
“I’m excited to bring that into 2020 and to try my best to climb up the rankings and hopefully win a few more tournaments. I haven’t won on the PGA Tour yet so it will be special to get my first win in the States.”
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