Tyrrell Hatton achieves career 'goal' with Wentworth win in BMW PGA
The 28-year-old Marlow man, who fell in love with his local event around the time Montgomerie reeled off three wins in a row from 1998-2000, held off Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez in a thrilling last-day duel at the Surrey venue to claim a third Rolex Series success.
Hatton, who'd been sent a photograph by his mum earlier in the day of him at the European Tour's flagship event in 1996 as a five-year-old spectator, said that had inspired him as he closed with a 67 for a 19-under-par 269 total.
"It's unbelievable," said Hatton of his fifth victory on the European circuit and another one in the autumn, adding to back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Links Championships in 2016 and 2017, the Italian Open in 2017 and the Turklish Airlines Open last November.
"As a five-year-old walking around here, I always wanted to be inside the ropes playing when I grew up. It was definitely a goal in my career to win here as well. This is just such a massive event, and to get over the line and win here is such a special feeling.
"It was nice of my mum to send me that photograph this morning and it gave me a bit of added motivation."
Hatton, who started the day with a three-shot lead, had been quickly reeled in by Perez after last year's Dunhill Links champion followed a birdie-2 at the second with an eagle at the fourth, where he rolled in a 22-footer.
As the pair then started trading blows around the turn, Hatton, with experienced Scottish caddie Mick Donaghy at his side, picked up three birdies in a row from the ninth, but, after back-to-back gains at the 11th and 12th, Perez was still clinging to his coat-tails.
It was only after Hatton, having missed a tiddler for par at the 13th then feeling he'd been robbed as birdie putt spun out at the next, birdied the 15th and Perez dropped a shot at the 17th after pushing his drive into the trees that the Englishman found himself with some breathing space.
He didn't know he had a three-shot lead playing the last, though, and heaved a sigh of relief after a "horrific" second shot got lucky as it stayed out of the stream short of the green, getting up and down for a closing birdie.
"It's just amazing to win this trophy," added Hatton, who reckoned he'd been more nervous setting out in the final circuit than he was when making his Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.
"I struggled with my rhythm today and that second shot at the last was the worst shot I've hit for a long time, but I am delighted that I managed to grind it out and get over the line."
Hatton, who won on the PGA Tour for the first time earlier this year in the Arnold Palmer Invitational ay Bay Hill, has moved to seventh in the Race to Dubai rankings and could jump as high as ninth in the updated world rankings."To win here and achieve another career goal of breaking into the top 10 in te world in the same week is very special, and, looking forward to the Masters, I'll take confidence from this win in the remainder of the season," he declared.
It was another brilliant week for Perez, who may have been a somewhat surprise winner of the Dunhill Links just over a year ago but now looks very much at home when he's in contention in some of the game's biggest events.
"Obviously very pleased," he said of this effort. "It's a Rolex Series Event and it's very positive to have a great week like this.
"I think credit to Tyrrell for playing well, but it's nice coming from playing well last week in Scotland (where he finished in the top 15), and then carrying on that form. It's obviously something that I was doing last year around the same time, so it gives me a lot of confidence."Helped by an eagle to finish for the second day running, Patrick Reed cemented his position at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings by sharing third spot with Andy Sullivan on 14-under, with Ian Poulter a further shot back and Eddie Pepperell making it four Englishman in the top six on 12-under.
"The biggest thing for me this week was coming over and testing out my golf game, but, at the same time, it was also trying to hold on to that top spot," said Reed, who is bidding to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai.
"Hopefully by the time we get to Dubai we're in the driver's seat and everyone is having to chase me. But there's a lot of season left. You still have some European Tour events, but then you also have Augusta and I'm sure there's a lot of points there.
"It's far from over. You have to continue playing solid golf and continue playing well and you need to play well at the big events, too."
Richie Ramsay finished as the leading Scot in this event for the third year in a row as he followed three straight 71s with a closing 68 to claim a share of 20th spot on seven-under.
Grant Forrest, who had been handily-placed on his debut at Wentworth after opening rounds of 69-67, had to settle for joint-32nd following closing efforts of four-under, while Bob MacIntyre (73) and Stephen Gallacher (75) finished outside the top 50 on three-over and four-over respectively.A message from the Editor: