Tyrrell Hatton came out on the right side of a dramatic six-man play-off to claim a thrilling second Rolex Series title under lights at the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Englishman had started the final round three shots back of Austrian Matthias Schwab’s lead but fired a five-under par 67 on Sunday, including a clutch birdie at the 72nd hole, to get to 20-under par.
It was a four round total that nobody could surpass after a thrilling 72 holes around The Montgomerie Maxx Royal layout with Hatton joined by Schwab, French duo Benjamin Hebert and Victor Perez, American Kurt Kitayama and South African Erik van Rooyen in a record-equalling six-man play-off to decide the fate of the title.
The 28-year old kept his hopes alive with a stunning chip-in birdie at the first extra hole as Hebert, Perez and van Rooyen were eliminated.
Kitayama was next to go as the floodlights came on for a third trip up 18, before Hatton ground down his young opponent, Schwab; a par five at the fourth extra hole proving enough to capture his fourth European Tour title and the US$2million first prize.
“It’s so surreal,” Hatton reflected. “I mean, I actually can’t believe that I’ve won. It’s been quite a difficult year in terms of things happening off course, and you know, the last month, I feel like I really found my game again.
“I said to a few people on my team that if I was lucky enough to win again, then I would definitely savour the moment because I think it’s quite easy to take it for granted, and you know, sport’s great when it’s going well, but when it’s not going well, it kind of hits home, so I’m absolutely thrilled.”
A visibly elated Hatton insisted that the fortune gained from a Rolex Series victory was nothing compared to the pride he was feeling adding such a coveted title to his trophy cabinet.
“You don’t think about the money, at all,” he said. “It’s all pride. And yeah, obviously it’s a bonus at the end of it after a great week, and I’m just so happy. I don’t know what else to say.”
It’s a season altering win for Hatton who signed for the Niall Horan owned Modest! Golf Management stable in June of this year. The result sees the Ryder Cup star jump to 30th position in the World Golf Rankings and with a Masters date to look forward to now in April, he was quick to pay tribute to Modest! for their unwavering support throughout a difficult spell.
“I’m so proud to get the win this week after a tough season,” Hatton added. “I cannot thank all my team enough for all they have done for me. To Danny [Wardrop] and all the guys at Modest! Golf, thank you so much.”
With the win, Hatton soars 30 places to sixth spot on the Race to Dubai rankings. He will now enjoy a week off ahead of this season’s European Tour finale at the US$8million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates.