They all fear Tyrrell Hatton in his hoodie at Wentworth as Englishman takes three-shot lead into the final round at the BMW PGA Championship
- Hatton has admitted his hoodies have ‘split opinions’ among golf fans this week
- The Englishman shot a fine 69 in difficult conditions to open up a three-shot lead
- Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed and Shane Lowry are a shot further adrift
Tyrrell Hatton was the last man to win a golf tournament before the world went into lockdown, and it just happened to be the one with Arnold Palmer’s name attached to it.
Now he has a golden opportunity to add the European Tour’s flagship event, a BMW PGA Championship long-associated with great names such as Sir Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Hatton’s own idol growing up, Colin Montgomerie.
It’s all been quite a journey for the man from Marlow, who first attended this event in short pants at the age of five.
Tyrrell Hatton has admitted his hoodies have ‘split opinions’ among golf fans this week
Now Hatton, 28, is walking round in a hoodie that would surely see him ejected from this preserve of the uber-wealthy if it was any other week.
When you’re England’s leading golfer over the past year, however, you’ve earned the right to wear what you want.
While that outer layer might be dividing opinion, the chasing pack are all in agreement: they’ve got one heck of a task in trying to chase him down in Sunday’s final round after Hatton shot a fine 69 in difficult conditions to open up a three-shot lead.
‘Tyrrell has been a great golfer for a while now but he’s added another level of consistency this year,’ said his friendly rival Tommy Fleetwood, who will start four behind following a wonderful 67.
Hatton will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship
‘He’s got that bit between his teeth with the win in Turkey this time last year and the win in America in March.’
Ian Poulter, five behind after a 68, added: ‘You can’t afford to be too far behind Tyrrell these days. He’s playing great golf.
‘He has come out this year looking strong, and he’s not missing too many shots.’
As for the hoodies Hatton has been sporting all week — he’ll be wearing another one on Sunday — when he put it out on social media that his sponsor was prepared to give away 10 of them, he was inundated with over 12,000 replies.
‘I know people are split in their opinion about them, but I think it’s time we moved on to a more open kind of sport and away from a snobby one over clothing,’ he said.
Tommy Fleetwood and Patrick Reed also share fourth with Shane Lowry at 10 under
‘I love them, they’re so comfortable to swing in. It’s not like jumpers back in the day, where there was no movement. They’re so stretchy, and they keep you really warm.’
There were times in the past when Hatton, with his once-fragile temperament, might well have ripped that hood off at level par for his first 11 holes and a round seemingly going nowhere.
Now he’s reached the elite level, he has that confidence to wait for the opportunities to arrive and an eagle three at the 12th duly changed the day’s complexion.
Hatton, whose four European Tour wins have all come at this time of year, has never lost a lead of more than one stroke going into the final round. But, if the conditions stay tough, Fleetwood, who has finished third and second in his last two European starts, might well go one better.
‘When you think I was four over par at one point on the first day, it’s lovely to stand here on Saturday night with a chance to win,’ said 29-year-old Fleetwood.
As for Poulter, he’s reached the stage in life now where he can laugh at all his own caustic remarks in the past about Wentworth.
‘I wouldn’t say it was a love-hate relationship, I think I just said a multitude of things about the course and all of them unfit to print,’ said Poulter, 44. ‘At the end of the day it’s 18 holes of golf. How hard can it be? It was time to shut up and just play.’
Another who cannot be discounted is American Patrick Reed, who eagled the last to finish alongside Fleetwood at four behind. He raised eyebrows with his choice of clothing as well.
While everyone else brought up in this kind of weather was wrapped up in several layers, the man who lives in humid Houston wore a polo shirt. ‘Why would I need anything else, this is a nice summer’s day over here, isn’t it?’ he said, cheekily.
The swirling winds, plunging temperatures and no spectators to raise the spirits made life difficult for many, including the two halfway leaders, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick. Open champion Lowry could only muster a 74 but, with his bad round perhaps out of the way, he’s still only four behind.
Bryson sees a friend in Fitzpatrick
You might have thought the ‘Incredible Bulk’ would turn a shade of green and burst a shirt button or two after Matt Fitzpatrick accused him of taking the skill out of the game.
Far from being offended, however, Fitzpatrick’s forthright opinion was music to the ears of Bryson DeChambeau.
‘I honestly take his comment as a huge compliment,’ said the US Open champion, who lay one shot off the halfway lead at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Matt Fitzpatrick (right) accused Bryson DeChambeau of taking the skill out of the game
‘A year ago, I was not hitting the ball anything like as far as I am now and it took a lot of hours of hard work to figure out a lot of this stuff.
‘I’d actually say it’s more difficult to hit fairways when you’re hitting it my distance and that has to be a skill set.’
DeChambeau extended a mischievous invitation to the Sheffield man. He said: ‘I’d love to have a conversation with him, to try to help him out and tell him, “Hey, man, you can do this, too”.’
Fitzpatrick had his own problems on Saturday. The joint halfway leader at the BMW PGA Championship, he fell from contention with an error-strewn 76.
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