Tyrell Hatton seals four-shot win at BMW PGA Championship after British star capitalised on overnight advantage to clinch fifth European Tour victory
Eighteen holes from completing the evocative journey from a five year old tyro experiencing this fabled championship for the first time in 1997 to adding his name to the greats of the game on the trophy.
No wonder the pulse raced like never before for the local hero. The one thing we’ve learned about Hatton, though, and how exciting it is for the British game, is that when he’s in with a chance to win he rarely beats himself, no matter how nervous he’s feeling.
Tyrell Hatton sealed a four-shot win at the BMW PGA Championship after leading overnight
So it was on a fabulous day in keeping with the finest traditions of the European Tour’s flagship event. In ideal scoring conditions, they came for the leader with a flurry of birdies and eagles but Hatton, as all great players do, delivered the big shots when he needed them.
The 28 year old from down the road in Marlow shot a final round 67 for a four shot victory that was certainly not as straightforward as it sounds. ‘I’ve always said it was a goal of mine to win this event and it’s an amazing feeling to stand here having pulled it off,’ said Hatton.
There was a nice moment at the end as, on a video link, he got to chat with his father Jeff, the man who introduced him to the game and his only coach. ‘Told you that you’d smash it, were you nervous?’ asked Jeff. ‘Thanks,’ replied Tyrrell. ‘I was terrified, actually.’
It was Hatton’s third victory in the last 12 months and he certainly knows which events to win. Victories in turn at the Turkish Airlines Open last November, the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March, and now this tournament have earned him around £4 million in prize money. His all-round consistency has taken him into the world’s top ten for the first time. ‘That was another goal of mine,’ he added.
Only at the 18th was Hatton able to breathe easy. Up to then, with no crowds to drown out the noise, we were treated to a vivid commentary from this most expressive of pros as he gave full rein to the nerves and emotion he was experiencing.
‘How on earth can that putt not go in?’ he screamed, as a birdie effort at the 14th somehow stayed out. Hatton had missed a tiddler at the 13th and Perez had pulled within a stroke at that point. The pressure was on.
Here we saw the rare quality of Hatton. Dressed in Seve blue, he had delivered a short game clinic over the front nine to keep his nose in front, saving par from precarious spots on a number of occasions that would have earned the approval of the great Spaniard.
On the 12th and 13th, Hatton missed the fairway to the left and right in turn with two poor drives. Could he find his long game over Wentworth’s daunting last four holes?
He did that all right. At the 15th, one of the great par fours, he struck a perfect drive and a mid-iron to 10ft and rolled in the birdie putt. Up ahead, a second bogey of the round for Perez at the 17th meant there was daylight between them at last.
Hatton could even afford to berate himself at the 18th, where he totally mishit his approach. ‘Perhaps the worst second shot struck by the eventual winner in the history of the event,’ was his colourful description. In the end, it gave him one more chance to show off his brilliant short game, as he got up and down once more for a closing birdie.
Tied third place went to American Patrick Reed (68) and Englishman Andy Sullivan, who shot the day’s best round, a marvellous 65. Ian Poulter followed up his sixth place finish in Scotland the previous week with fifth spot, while Eddie Pepperell (69) made it four players from the host nation in the top six.