Hatton in his elements, sparkles under fading light

Tyrrell Hatton is the first player to card 3 eagles at this event in the same week since Rory McIlroy in 2011. — Twitter
Tyrrell Hatton is the first player to card 3 eagles at this event in the same week since Rory McIlroy in 2011. — Twitter

Abu Dhabi - Hatton carded an eagle on the par five second and had four birdies in a row from the seventh



By James Jose

Published: Fri 22 Jan 2021, 7:41 PM

Last updated: Fri 22 Jan 2021, 9:29 PM

As the elements played hide and seek for the second consecutive day, Englishman Tyrrell Hatton was in his elements, surging to a sizable lead in the second round of the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday.

After fog had forced a late start on the opening day on Thursday, the sun played hide and seek on Friday, ultimately forcing round 2 to be suspended due to fading light. But before the sun could wave goodbye for the day, Hatton sizzled by firing a five-under through 13 holes to go 12-under par overall at the National Course.

That saw the world No.9 hold a five-stroke cushion over clubhouse leader Australian Jason Scrivener, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, Frenchman Romain Langasque and overnight leader Rory McIlroy.

Scrivener and Janewattananond had completed their rounds, while Frenchman Romain Langasque and overnight leader Rory McIlroy were on the 16th and 14th holes respectively, when Mother Nature had the last say.

Hatton had four birdies, an eagle and a bogey in his round before it was cut short.

Teeing off with countrymen Matthew Fitzpatrick and Ian Poulter from the first, Hatton began brilliantly with an eagle on the par-5 599-yard second. But the 29-year-old endured a bogey immediately on the next hole — the par-4 429-yard third.

But he didn’t allow that to throw him off balance as he racked up four birdies on the trot from the seventh to the 10th.

“I'm obviously in a great position at the moment,” Hatton said at the end of the day.

“It was certainly tough out there, so I'm really happy to be 5-under. Held some nice putts and there was a couple par putts toward the end of my round, nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going,” he added.

Hatton himself was surprised with his putting as he had been working on his long game and couldn’t put a finger to it.

“To be honest, I haven't actually done much short game. It's been weird. Like the last sort of three weeks, I've been hitting balls again, I was mainly focusing on long game. It's a little bit of a surprise to see my short game as good as it has been the last two days. But obviously I need that to continue over the next however many holes we've got left. Yeah, very pleased,” he added.

Hatton, who has five wins on the Tour, was bracing for a long day on Saturday, where he has to complete his round before embarking on round three.

“It's not going to be too bad I think because what have we got, four, five holes left to play tomorrow morning. It's going to be a bit of a long wait potentially if I finish nicely tomorrow morning before I go out for round three. But it will be fine. I'll just try and stay loose and see how we go,” reckoned Hatton, who beat Frenchman Victor Perez by four strokes to clinch the BMW PGA Championship last October.

McIlroy, meanwhile, endured a tough day, making three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey for a one over through 13 holes and an overall seven-under.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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