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Hatton seals Turkish twilight delight

Hatton seals Turkish twilight delight

Tyrrell Hatton claimed his second Rolex Series title in dramatic fashion as he prevailed from a six man play-off to win the Turkish Airlines Open.

Tyrrell Hatton

The Englishman entered round four in glorious sunshine three shots off the lead at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal but ended it as the last man standing under the floodlights after one of the most dramatic days of the 2019 Race to Dubai.

A birdie on the 72nd hole handed him a closing 67 and a place in the record equalling play-off at 20 under alongside French duo Benjamin Hebert and Victor Perez, American Kurt Kitayama, Austrian Matthias Schwab and South African Erik van Rooyen.

He had to chip-in to keep his hopes alive on the first trip back up the last but a par was enough to overcome Schwab at the fourth time of asking and hand Hatton his fourth European Tour trophy.

There had only been two other six man play-offs in European Tour history, with Scot Stephen McAllister winning the 1990 Vinho Verde Atlantic Open and England's Mark Foster triumphing at the 2003 Dunhill Championship.

In the first threeball back up the last, a poor tee shot destroyed Van Rooyen's chances while Kitayama was just over the back in two and got down in the same number for a birdie.

Hatton's race looked to be run when he found a horrible lie with his second and was off the green in three but he chipped in for a birdie bringing a huge celebration.

Schwab had to lay up after finding rough off the tee but played a wonderful third to set up a birdie, with Hebert and Perez both failing to match him after finding the rough themselves.

The next trip up the last produced three pars as Kitayama missed a six footer for victory and he was heading home after the next as his par could not match birdies from Hatton and Schwab.

Hatton missed a short putt for birdie after laying up on the next but Schwab missed a short one of his own after chipping over the green and the resulting bogey meant Hatton joined Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Justin Rose, Danny Willett and Bernd Wiesberger as a multiple Rolex Series winner.

The victory moves the 28-year-old into the top ten on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex and potentially into the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking from 48th.

"I actually can't believe that I've won," said the 2017 Italian Open champion. "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. I think it's quite easy to take it for granted and 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.

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

Schwab now has ten top tens this season as he edges ever closer to that maiden European Tour win.

"It was a close call," he said. "I had some good looks and good chances coming down the stretch in regular play and didn't take advantage of them. In the play-off, it is what it is."

Schwab and Hatton both birdied the first in regulation and while Hebert could not take advantage of the par five, he holed from 15 feet for a birdie on the second, with Hatton following him in for a gain of his own as the overnight lead was cut to two.

Hebert and Schwab both birdied the par five fourth but Hatton went one better, putting a remarkable second to four feet for an eagle to move to 18 under after a bogey on the third.

The lead was cut to one as Schwab found sand off the tee at the par three fifth and a charging Van Rooyen found himself just two off the top.

The Scandinavian Invitation champion sandwiched a birdie on the second with gains on the two par fives and while he gave a shot back on the next, approaches to inside six feet at the sixth and seventh moved him to 17 under.

Hatton found sand off the tee at the seventh to surrender a bogey and the lead was back to two but both he and Hebert put tee shots inside 15 feet at the par three eighth and they were back within one at the turn.

The final group went quiet on the back nine, with Schwab and Hebert both making the most of the par five 13th and Hatton making a birdie from 16 feet on the last, opening the door for the fast finishing Kitayama, Perez and Van Rooyen.

Kitayama, birdied the first, second and seventh, chipped in at the eighth and then bogeyed the ninth before making the most of the 11th and 13th. A 15 footer on the 16th was followed by a birdie on the next and when the 26-year-old got up and down on the par five last, he shared the lead.

Perez sandwiched a gain on the ninth with birdies on the par five fourth and 11th before making a hat-trick of gains from the 14th and a two putt birdie on the last.

Van Rooyen had birdied the tenth but gave the shot back on the next after a poor tee shot before making a gain on the 14th. He was still two back stood on the last tee but he found the fringe in two and rolled home his eagle putt to make it a four way tie at the top.

Schwab could only par the last after birdieing the hole in the first three rounds, while Hatton needed two putts for a birdie and Hebert also made a gain after being forced to lay up to set up the six man battle.

India's Shubhankar Sharma carded a 64 to finish at 18 under alongside Scot Robert MacIntyre, one clear of Frenchman Romain Langasque and two ahead of England's Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood, Dane Joachim B Hansen, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, Italy's Guido Migliozzi and American Patrick Reed.

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