Turkish Airlines Open: Tyrrell Hatton prevails after a record six-man play-off under floodlights

Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell Hatton

England's Tyrrell Hatton won the Turkish Airlines Open following a record-equalling six-man play-off under floodlights.

Leaderboard

-20 Hatton

-20 Hebert, Van Rooyen, Schwab, Perez, Kitayama

-18 Sharma, MacIntyre

*Hatton won six-man play-off

Day four

England's Tyrrell Hatton, an 18/1 pre-tournament selection from Golf tipster Ben Coley, pocketed the first prize of £1.56million after winning the Turkish Airlines Open following a record-equalling six-man play-off which finished under floodlights.

Hatton defeated Austria's Matthias Schwab with a par on the fourth extra hole to win his fourth title in memorable circumstances in Antalya.

Hatton, Schwab, Kurt Kitayama, Victor Perez, Benjamin Hebert and Erik Van Rooyen had all finished tied on 20 under par to set up the third six-man play-off in European Tour history.

The players were sent out in two groups of three on the par-five 18th and Van Rooyen was the first man eliminated after a wayward drive led to a bogey six.

Hatton looked in danger of an early exit as well after a clumsy third shot from the back of the green, only to then chip in from 40 feet for an unlikely birdie which was matched by Kitayama.

Overnight leader Schwab, who had missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win the tournament in regulation, was the only player in the second group to make birdie to leave three players heading back to the 18th tee.

All three missed good birdie chances on the second extra hole and the floodlights which can illuminate the back nine at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal were turned on before the trio headed back to the 18th.

Hatton looked set to seal victory after a superb pitch to two feet set up a certain birdie, but Schwab holed from 20 feet for a birdie before Kitayama missed from closer range and was eliminated.

On the fourth extra hole Hatton turned away in disbelief after his birdie putt from eight feet to win the title drifted past the edge of the hole.

But moments later he was celebrating victory after Schwab missed from close range for par after being on the back edge of the green in two.

"It's so surreal," said Hatton, who will undergo wrist surgery at the end of season. "I actually can't believe that I've won. It's been quite a difficult year in terms of things happening off course and 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. 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."

Hatton injured his wrist in a fall while making his Masters debut in 2017 and will be back at Augusta National in April after his victory lifted him from 48th in the world rankings to 30th. The top 50 at the end of the year earn invites to the year's first major.

"That's really exciting," added the 28-year-old Ryder Cup winner, whose win also boosts his chances of representing Europe in Whistling Straits next year.

"I was well aware of my world ranking coming into this week. I just really wanted to have a good day today because I felt that if I played well, then that might secure the Masters.

"It's such an amazing tournament and I can't wait to get that Masters invite through the post again. It's a special feeling, and obviously just a bonus with what comes with doing well."

Schwab was understandably crestfallen after missing out on his maiden European Tour title, the 24-year-old carding a closing 70 but crucially failing to birdie the 18th in regulation for the first time this week.

"It was a close call," Schwab said. "I had some good looks and good chances coming down the stretch in regular play and didn't take advantage of them.

"It's still a second-place finish, which is obviously not too bad, but at the moment it doesn't feel too great."

Day three

In-form Matthias Schwab is on the cusp of a European Tour breakthrough having moved three shots clear in the Turkish Airlines Open.

For the second day running, the Austrian began his round with an eagle and while a mistake at the difficult 12th threatened to stop him in his tracks, birdies at the 13th and 18th holes ensured he remains the man to catch.

Benjamin Hebert's eight-under-par round of 64 vaulted him to 15-under and a share of second alongside Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher, Patrick Reed, and potential rookie of the year Robert MacIntyre.

MacIntyre's Scottish compatriot, Scott Jamieson, is tied for seventh alongside Erik van Rooyen and Victor Perez, the latter likely to be the biggest rival MacIntyre faces in the top-rookie battle.

Schwab, at 24, is only in his second full year on the circuit, and leads the way in top-10 finishes for the year without yet earning his first professional title.

A brilliant display of putting this week, typified by a left-to-right birdie from long-range at the 10th, has him in pole position to change that, but there's a classy bunch poised to challenge on what's sure to be an entertaining Sunday.

Hebert will hope to gain revenge of sorts, having lost out to Schwab's fellow Austrian, Bernd Wiesberger, in a play-off for the Scottish Open this summer.

Reed, buoyed by his Presidents Cup call, is looking for his second win since August, while MacIntyre is in a similar position to Schwab having threatened to land a big title throughout the year.

Hatton meanwhile has been frustrated to be held back by his putter, which has again been costly this week, but birdies at the final two holes of the second round kept his hopes of a fourth European Tour success very much alive.

Schwab, though, has been a picture of calm all week, helped no doubt by a season spent largely in contention, and if he starts with an eagle again in the final round will take some stopping.

"The game plan is going to be the same as it's been the last three days," he said. "The course is gettable and there are a lot of birdies out there, so I'll just stay aggressive because pars won't be enough."

Schwab also offered an explanation for his improvement on the greens, having established himself on the Tour thanks to an impressive long-game which looks sure to underpin a lengthy and successful career.

"I started putting with the flag in last week at the HSBC in China," he said. "My caddie came up with the idea. They weren't really going in before, and especially in Paris, so we tried something different, and it seems to work."

If things go to plan on Sunday, perhaps he'll arrive on the final green with a sufficient enough advantage to take the flag out, tap his ball in, and celebrate the first of what will surely be many titles.

Day two

Montgomerie Maxx Royal has helped unveil some outstanding talents in its brief time as a European Tour host venue, and that could again be the case after Matthias Schwab moved into the lead at the halfway stage of the Turkish Airlines Open.

Schwab, in his second full season on the circuit, is already established as one of the most reliable tee-to-green operators around. And, after a top-five finish in elite company last week, he's once more entering the weekend with a chance to earn a breakthrough win.

The young Austrian reached 12-under with a birdie at the final hole completing a round of 67, and that's enough to lead by one from Ross Fisher, Danny Willett, Thomas Detry and Alex Noren.

Detry is another who will hope to launch his career here over the weekend, in the same way that Brooks Koepka did five years ago, whereas for Fisher it's a chance to reignite one which has stalled to the point that he needed a sponsors' invite to play.

Willett and Noren, meanwhile, are former winners of Rolex Series events and know what this is all about. Willett shot 66 on Friday and Noren would have too but for a short miss at the final hole in an otherwise excellent round.

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre produced fireworks throughout a stunning 63 to move to nine-under alongside Justin Rose, the defending champion who is in fact going for a hat-trick of wins in the event having also won the title in 2017.

Rose again finished well, three birdies in the final five holes keeping him in touch, but this is a bunched leaderboard with no fewer than 32 players within four shots of the lead.

The task facing Schwab is a big one, then, but he's armed for it. On Friday he started with an eagle and finished with a birdie, and at 11-under for the par-fives already he's taking care of the scoring holes.

With the weather set fair for the weekend, more of the same will be required in another Turkish shootout in Antalya.

Day one

Patience has been a constant in the career of Justin Rose, and once again he was rewarded for it at the end of the first day's play in the Turkish Airlines Open.

Rose, who won the event in 2017 and 2018, was mid-pack at two-under heading to the par-three 16th, before a hat-trick of birdies boosted his bid for a hat-trick of wins.

At five-under following a round of 67, Rose trails leaders Tom Lewis and Matthias Schwab by three, the former again demonstrating his love for a resort-style shootout as the latter extended his hot run of form.

"I said to my caddie after 11, 'I'm not going to make any birdies'," Lewis said. "I hadn't made any in Portugal two weeks ago and I thought they are not going to come.

"He was like, 'don't worry, you'll soon be saying you can't stop making them' and that's kind of what happened. Hopefully I can keep playing well and making as many birdies as possible."

Schwab is considered among the brightest talents on the circuit and, having been fourth in China last week, he's set to climb inside the world's top 100 whatever happens at Montgomerie Maxx Royal.

The Austrian made six birdies and an eagle on Thursday, his sole dropped shot coming at the ninth, while Lewis's finish was even more electric than than of Rose as he made six birdies over the closing seven holes.

That tells you something about the rhythm of the course - holes 13 through to 18 are where many of the opportunities lie - and Scotland's Richie Ramsay reached four-under with birdies at the final four holes.

David Lipsky, Thomas Pieters and Alex Noren are two shots closer to the lead on six-under, with Benjamin Hebert, Thomas Detry, Scott Jamieson, Joost Luiten and Danny Willett alongside Rose in a share of sixth.

It was a quieter start for those towards the very top of the Race To Dubai standings, good news for absent pair Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.

Both remain in the hunt for the season-long prize unless either Bernd Wiesberger or Shane Lowry take it out of their hands. At one-under and level-par respectively, they're a long way from doing so this week.

Rose, though, is where he needs to be despite looking below his best for much of the day.

"I guess it's job done," said the 39-year-old, who is looking to join Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie as the only players to win a regular European Tour event three years in a row.

"The hot finish was exactly what we needed. I was aware of the leaderboard. Obviously it was a perfect day to play golf as it normally is here in Turkey and I could see the lads going low.

"Our group was having some frustrations trying to make putts. The greens were bumpy and when the sun got low you could see what you're facing and it wasn't really confidence-inspiring, so I changed my mindset to just not expecting the ball to go in and just freed up my stroke because of that."

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