Hatton shoots lights out to win Turkish marathon

Hatton shoots lights out to win Turkish marathon
Tyrrell Hatton plays an approach shot on the 18th in the fourth playoff hole on his way to winning the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya. Picture: Warren Little.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton beat Austria’s Matthias Schwab in the game’s first floodlit play-off to claim the Turkish Airlines Open at the fourth extra hole and a $2m payday.

Without a victory since he won the Alfred Dunhill Links and the Italian Open back-to-back in 2017, the 28-year-old Ryder Cup star closed with a five-under 67 to make a six-man playoff, then chipped in at the first extra hole to stay alive.

He finished on 20-under par alongside overnight leader Matthias Schwab of Austria, French duo Victor Perez and Benjamin Herbert, American rookie Kurt Kitayama and South African Erik Van Rooyen, who spectacularly eagled the last.

Van Rooyen, Herbert and Perez were all eliminated at the first extra hole where Schwab got up and down from 80 yards and Hatton chipped in to match Kitayama’s birdie four.

Kitayama missed from eight feet for the title the second time around and was eliminated on their third trip down the 558-yard 18th as Schwab made an 18 footer to match Hatton’s birdie.

The Austrian looked to have the title in his sights at the fourth extra hole as Hatton was forced to lay up. But after a clumsy third from just off the green, he three-putted from the back edge for bogey, missing from five feet to match Hatton’s two-putt par.

Hatton’s fourth European Tour win was worth €1,809,627 and 1,500 Race to Dubai points, catapulting him from 36th to sixth in the standings behind Bernd Wiesberger, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Rory McIlroy.

“It’s so surreal; I actually can’t believe that I’ve won,” said Hatton, who is now second in the European Ryder Cup points list and comfortably inside the top 50 in the world who qualify for next year’s Masters.

On the chip-in for birdie to stay alive on the first extra hole, he said: “I was kind of getting in my own way with moaning about the little bit of mud on the ball from the fairway, and obviously it was just left in a dead spot.

“[Caddie] Mick [Donaghy] said, ‘just chip it in’. I just went back to when I was a kid at Harleyford just chipping away, and you’d hole three in a row. That really focused me, and it came out perfect.

“Amazing that it went in and just so thankful that I’ve gone on to win the title.”

Lowry had a weekend to forget as he followed his seven-under 65 on Friday with a brace of three-over 75s that left him tied for 62nd with Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington, who shot 72 yesterday, on one-under-par.

But he remains third in the Race to Dubai and believes his sluggish weekend play in his fourth start in five weeks justified his decision to skip this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge and recharge with a family break in Dubai.

“I did my best out there the last couple of days and it just didn’t really happen for me,” said Lowry, who found water twice and made four birdies, three bogeys, and two double bogeys in his final round.

“Maybe I was expecting too much after my good day on Friday. I don’t know. I was thinking about it going around and it shows me that I am probably doing the right thing, not going to Sun City.

“I am not going to make excuses. I said I wanted to go to Dubai fresh and I am excited for a few days off, and then towards the end of next week, I will get the clubs out again and do a bit of practice.

“Hopefully I can go there and put up a good performance. No matter what happens in Dubai, I will be happy with what I have got at the end of the year.”

With 1,665 points on offer for the winner in South Africa this week and 2,000 points going to the victor in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Lowry knows it could be a winner-takes-all scenario on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates next week, with a host of players going for the title.

“Dubai is going to be a big week,” Lowry said. “If you go there and play well and compete, there’s going to be a good few lads with a chance to win. It is maybe win the tournament, or you won’t win the Race to Dubai. I’ve done quite well there. I like the place, like being in Dubai. After a week off, I’m sure I will get a little bit of hunger back for golf at the end of the week and put up a good performance.”

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