Tyrrell Hatton back on track, co-leads after Round 1 of British Masters

Tyrell Hatton British Masters Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Tyrrell Hatton back on track, co-leads after Round 1 of British Masters

Euro Tour

Tyrrell Hatton back on track, co-leads after Round 1 of British Masters

HEDDON ON THE WALL, England – Tyrrell Hatton is hoping to end this season as he started it: on a high.

He just wants to forget the bit in the middle.

The Englishman leapt to the top of the leaderboard in the opening round of the $4 million British Masters with a 7-under-par 63. He shares the lead with South Africa’s George Coetzee. They are one shot ahead of the rest of the field

The 25-year-old is the sort of quality player expected to contend this week, even if many wouldn’t have picked him ahead of Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Matt Fitzpatrick, Graeme McDowell and tournament host Lee Westwood.

Hatton earned his first European Tour victory last season, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. It helped him end the year fourth on the European Tour money list and reach 23rd on the official world golf ranking (he’s now 29th). 

It was no surprise when Hatton began the season by finishing third in Dubai, followed by 10th in the WGC–Mexico Championship. Then the summer got in the way. 

Instead of kicking on from his WGC performance, Hatton went missing in action. He missed seven of nine cuts after Mexico, with a T-30 in the BMW PGA Championship his best finish. 

“Through summer, I had too many opinions and just got on a bad run,” Hatton said. “My putter was really cold through summer, as well. You know, if you are not holing putts and you hit a few bad shots, and you feel like you can’t score, that’s just the phase that I went through.” 

Drastic action was needed, and Hatton took it.

The Englishman employed boyhood friend Jonathan Bell to caddie for him and help him get back on track. Bell is a fellow professional playing on the EuroPro Tour, a British mini-tour.  The decision paid instant dividends. Hatton finished third in the recent Omega European Masters, his first event with Bell looping for him.

“We’re just trying to have a bit fun out there,” Hatton said. “I’ve known him since I was about seven years old. We used to play junior events together. He’s a pro himself. He wanted to play Euro Pro this year but didn’t have the funding, unfortunately. 

“He’s been working part-time, so when I asked him to come on the bag for Switzerland, he was quite happy to do that. Obviously we had a great week, so hopefully he’s going to carry on until the end of the year. 

“Hopefully we can have a few more good results and it will give him a good platform for next year when he’s going to play himself.” 

Hatton will find out over the next three rounds if the partnership is truly successful or just a flash in the pan.

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