Hatton outshines McIlroy to lift Abu Dhabi Golf C’ship title - GulfToday

Hatton outshines McIlroy to lift Abu Dhabi Golf C’ship title

Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrell Hatton poses with the trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Sunday. Supplied

Tyrrell Hatton is set to become the highest-ranked British golf player after outshining Rory McIlroy to win the $8 million Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Englishman started the final round one shot behind world number six McIlroy, but left the field in his wake with a brilliant bogey-free six-under par 66 in windy conditions.

Winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour last year, it was the fourth Rolex Series win for Hatton and he is now expected to climb to number five in the world rankings released on Monday, surpassing McIlroy.

Hatton aggregated an 18-under par 270 for the tournament, four shots better than Australian Jason Scrivener, who closed in stunning fashion with an eagle and five birdies on his back nine in a round of six-under 66.

McIlroy’s quest for a first Rolex Series title and a win in Abu Dhabi continues. After a promising start in which he birdied two of his first three holes, the Northern Irishman struggled coming in and an even-par 72 was good enough only for a solo third place at 13-under.

It was his eighth top-three finish in 11 starts in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s been an amazing day,” said Hatton, who won European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, last year.

“It’s tough to win any tournament. Every single week, you have world-class golfers at the top of the leaderboard, and you have to go out there and play well.

“Starting the day one back behind Rory, I always know it’s going to be a tough day. If Rory plays as good as he can, he’s basically the best in the world.”

Hatton added: “I’m really happy with how I played, how I managed the conditions and to be able to shoot 6-under, bogey-free.”

The Englishman labelled his putt on the 10th and tee shot on the 11th as crucial moments.

“That was going 8-10 feet past and just hit the hole. That’s huge,” he said.

“Then my tee shot... pitched on the side of the bunker and came out. We’ve seen many plugged lies in the lip this week, so that was another bit of good fortune.”

Hatton was in fine form throughout the week, opening with three eagles in his first 20 holes of the tournament. In all, he made just four bogies all week. In comparison, McIlroy made four bogies in his final round - making mistakes at crucial moments of the match.

McIlroy’s best chance was if Hatton blinked on the closing stretch, which never happened.

On his rise above McIlroy in the rankings, Hatton said: “I have to pinch myself with where we are in the world rankings now. I don’t treat anything any differently.

“I always go out there and try my best and I’ve been obviously quite fortunate to play well at such big events.”

A disappointed McIlroy said he needed to be more consistent.

“I thought for the most part of the week, my short game and my putting was good. I scrambled well. Had some pretty good approach shots,” said McIlroy, who is teeing up next week on the PGA Tour in Torrey Pines.

“But still, there are a few holes where it sort of gets away from me. So, what I need is a little more consistency and being able to replicate the good ones hole after hole and then day after day until you put four rounds together.”

The desert swing of the European Tour next moves to the neighbouring emirate of Dubai for the Dubai Desert Classic, starting Thursday.

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