Hatton puts rivals in shade with help of his cool co-star
The pro-am format of the Dunhill Links is not to everyone’s taste – players and fans alike – but Tyrrell Hatton must believe it is perfect. But only if they continue to let him play with Jamie Dornan.
Hatton won his maiden title in this event 12 months ago, and is an overwhelming favourite to retain the crown after taking a five-shot lead into the final round on 18-under with a brilliant 65 at Kingsbarns yesterday.
He and Dornan, star of Fifty Shades of Grey, have a chance of winning the team prize, although the actor will appreciate the silverware proper is rather more important. Victory would return Hatton to the world’s top 20, following a miserable summer in which he missed five cuts in a row.
The 25-year-old has the propensity for losing his cool on course when things go against him and the more relaxed environs of the Dunhill seem to suit him, particularly as he has developed such a close relationship with Dornan. For his last seven Dunhill rounds, Hatton is a remarkable
“Everyone has their battles, and dealing with frustration is mine,” Hatton said. “But it hasn’t been a problem this week, and Jamie can take a lot of credit for that. There was a nice moment on the first day when it was really cold by the time we finished. A woman shouted to him, ‘Over here, Jamie, we’ve turned fifty shades of blue waiting for your autograph.’ Things like that help to keep it fun. He helps to relax me, which is good because everyone knows I can get a bit hot-headed.”
Playing alongside Hatton, Rory McIlroy was impressed, joking that Dornan – who comes from Holywood, the same Northern Irish town as McIlroy – should become Tyrrell’s fulltime caddie. “What Hatton’s doing is very impressive,” McIroy added. “It’s his to lose tomorrow.”
McIlroy is simply glad to have made the cut in his final event of the year. When he double-bogeyed the second (his 11th) he fell below the cut line, but then reeled off four birdies in a row to make it by one on four-under after a 68.
It is hard to look past Hatton for the £635,000 winning cheque. Gregory Bourdy is his nearest pursuer on 13-under, with Paul Dunne on 11-under. Luke Donald and Ross Fisher are 10 under.
Front-runner: Tyrrell Hatton will be back in the world’s top 20 if he can hold on to win the tournament again