Dream Comes True for Tyrrell Hatton at Wentworth
WHEN TYRRELL HATTON returned from America after eight months the first thing he did was to make a cup of tea. The second thing was to have a curry. And the third? To win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth by four shots. In the process, the Englishman climbed to 10th in the world rankings as he continues a year he will never forget.
Before the lockdown he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational - his first victory on American soil. But he really wanted to secure the European Tour’s flagship tournament.
The 28-year-old was three ahead overnight and shot a five-under 67 for a 19-under total on the West Course. Victor Perez of France challenged but eventually finished second after a 68.
Andy Sullivan's 65 put him joint third with Patrick Reed, with Tommy Fleetwood tied 13th at nine under after a 73.
"This was a goal of mine to win this tournament and part of me is sad I didn't get to experience the crowds, but it's just amazing to win this trophy," said Hatton, who attended the tournament as a child with his father.
"It's a dream come true for me really. As a five-year-old walking around here I always wanted to be inside the ropes playing when I grew up. This is such a massive event and to get over the line and win here is such a special feeling.
"It was definitely a goal in my career to win here and I'm very thankful that I managed to get the job done today.
"I kind of expected someone to get off to a fast start and I just had to manage myself and not allow myself to get in my own way.
"It was a career goal to break inside the top ten in the World Rankings so to win here and achieve that in the same week is very special. I'll take confidence from this win in the remainder of the season."
Playing in the penultimate group, Perez, who lost to Hatton in a play-off at last year's Turkish Open, briefly tied for the lead when he pitched inside three feet to set up a birdie at the seventh to add to a birdie at the second and an eagle at the fourth.
But Hatton moved clear with three consecutive birdies from the ninth, holing from 25 feet on successive greens and then sending a superb approach to two feet at the 11th.
Sullivan, the world number 90 who ended a five-year wait for a European Tour win by capturing the English Championship in August, had five birdies and an eagle in his first 14 holes before his progress was checked by a dropped shot at 15.
Former Masters champion Reed, the highest-ranked player in the field, eagled the last for the second day running to ensure a share of third with the Englishman.
Meanwhile on the PGA Tour, Martin Laird made a welcome return to form as he won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open - his first success for seven years. And he had to do it the hard way. He was three shots ahead after holing a brilliant bunker shot at the ninth but was reeled in by Austin Cook and Matthew Wolff and needed to hole a 22-foot birdie putt to win the playoff.
Laird, 37, who shared the lead going into the final round, bogeyed the 18th hole to finish on 23 under.
Cook, Wolff and Laird all made par on the first extra hole before the Scot won it at the next.
"This win might go right to the top because it's been a while," he said. "I had a bunch of life changes since my last win. Now I've got a couple kids who kept asking me when I was going to win the trophy. It's going to be nice to take a trophy home for them this time."
Laird had been involved in a play-off at the Shriners Open in 2010, when American Jonathan Byrd found a hole-in-one on the fourth extra hole to take the title.
His final round at TPC Summerlin contained a stunning eagle at the ninth hole when he chipped in despite his ball being plugged in the face of a green side bunker.
He scrambled to maintain his lead by making par after finding the trees off the tee on 17, before three-putting from 28ft on the final hole to drop a shot and end the day with a three-under-par 68.
It presented Cook and US Open runner-up Wolff with a play-off chance but after his rivals made par at the second extra hole, Laird's fine putt earned him the $1.26m first prize, the biggest of his career to date.
"I'm unbelievably excited to have pulled that off. You have some doubts at times whether you're going to get another one," added Laird, who now has four wins on the PGA Tour. "Since my last win, I've struggled with my game at times. I'm really proud how I played this week. To see that putt go in on that hole, it was pretty special."
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