Any feelings of joy that Tyrrell Hatton felt due to the new golf season did not last long. The Englishman, perhaps already upset that the Abu Dhabi Championship moved from the golf club of the same name after he won there 12 months ago, fired a rather epic volley into the 18th hole at Yas Links after delivering a quadruple bogey. nine there on Saturday.
“It’s got to be one of the worst par fives I’ve ever seen, and in the last two days I’ve clearly played it as well as it was designed,” said Hatton, who took seven there on Friday.
“It’s really frustrating. I thought I played pretty well yesterday and I wasn’t sure how I managed to shoot 77. I really wanted to go out there today and make amends and I played really well. I’m 6 under 13 holes, I’ve got all the shots back and more and then we hit 18.”
Indeed, at 6-under before his troubles on the final hole, Hatton was at least in contention to successfully defend his title. The 54-hole lead, held by Scott Jamieson, is 11 under par.
Pressed on what exactly is wrong with the 18, Hatton wasn’t about to back down. “What’s wrong with it? Where do you start? I ask. “It shouldn’t have a bunker in the middle of the fairway and it shouldn’t be more than 600 yards from a front tee. If you drive like a pro, you should at least have a chance to hit the green in two, otherwise the hole becomes a par three. [after the first two shots] And that’s if you play it right. Hardly anyone will get there in two today.
“I can’t remember the last time I got a nine, I certainly haven’t had one that I can remember as a pro. I was probably around 14 years old the last time it happened.”
Hatton had found the bunker in question from the tee, but due to a bad lie, he subsequently had to play to the tenth fairway. He then hit the water, had to land on the cabbage from where he deemed the ball “basically unplayable.” He ended up in a bunker next to the green, took two to come out and the same number of putts.
On more positive matters, Jamieson’s lead is one to Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters. “It would be huge, a game changer to win a tournament of this stature,” said Jamieson, ranked No. 336. “There have definitely been some great champions here, but there’s a long way to go.”
Lowry is looking for his first victory since the 2019 Open. He had his own problems late after confusion between him and his caddy over where an approach shot should be aimed. Lowry at least saved the pair. “We were targeting the HSBC sign, but theirs was 30 yards to the right of the one I was looking at,” Lowry explained. “New course, I thought I made a perfect shot. I couldn’t believe it landed where it did. It was a serious mistake to do it because we shouldn’t do it in that situation. I was very lucky, it could have been a different story. I’m not sure I’m standing here if so, I could be sitting in the locker room sulking.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism