Tyrrell Hatton back with a bang by grabbing a share of the lead after the opening round at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
- England’s Hatton shares the lead after an opening 66 on Thursday
- Shane Lowry birdied six of the last 10 holes to sit one shot behind Hatton
- Scottish Open winner Aaron Rai finished alongside Justin Rose after a 68
The only British male golfer to win on American soil this year is glad finally to be home. The first thing Tyrrell Hatton did following nine months in the US was make himself a bacon sandwich, and he followed it that evening with a curry.
The feelgood vibes continued on Thursday at a BMW PGA Championship he first attended when five years old, on a Wentworth course that remains one of the bucket-list venues in English golf.
The 28-year-old winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando last March breezed around in 66 strokes to be tied for the lead with in-form South African Justin Harding and young Spaniard Adri Arnaus. Open champion Shane Lowry and two more Englishmen, Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell, shot 67 while last week’s Scottish Open winner Aaron Rai finished alongside Justin Rose after carding a 68.
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton shares the lead after opening round of the BMW PGA Championship
Tommy Fleetwood would certainly have earned any ‘comeback of the day’ award after recovering from being four over to post five birdies, coming home for a 71.
As for Hatton, his heartfelt ‘there really isn’t any place like home’ was reflected in his relaxed display.
‘I was very calm out there and part of that was down to the fact it’s been so good to spend time in my own bed,’ said Hatton, who lives just 25 minutes away in Marlow.
It hasn’t always been sweetness and light, mind, over the West course.
Open champion Shane Lowry birdied six of the last 10 holes to sit one shot behind Hatton
Picture Hatton at nine years old — rooted to the spot and terrified as a small white missile struck by Vijay Singh veered horribly off line in his direction.
‘He almost took me out with that shot but thankfully it just missed, and that’s the reason I’m standing here today,’ he said, smiling.
Hatton was playing alongside American Patrick Reed, and the pair were involved in a proper ding-dong contest until their final hole, the 8th on the card, where Hatton birdied and Reed found the greenside water hazard for a double bogey and a 70.
Ian Poulter battled a back problem to finish on three under after the opening round
It’s one of the hardest things in the game standing on the first tee on Thursday after a career-defining win the previous Sunday, but Rai took it all in his stride.
The fact he has no manager or any presence on social media singles him out, as did his cogent explanation.
‘They’re things I feel strongly about,’ said the 25-year-old from Wolverhampton. ‘Everyone is trying to be a brand out here to some extent, but I just want to put the golf first.’
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