Monday Finish: Hatton notches first PGA TOUR win
March 09, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Tyrrell Hatton earns first career win at Arnold Palmer
Wind and water play havoc for the second time in two weeks on the PGA TOUR, but Tyrrell Hatton tames the difficult conditions and his nerves to hang on with a final-round 74 for a one-stroke victory over Marc Leishman (73) and two over Sungjae Im (73) at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. It’s Hatton’s first TOUR win in his 60th start as he jumps from 81st to 14th in the FedExCup standings. He is the first player from England to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and earns a three-year exemption on TOUR. He also becomes the first player since Geoff Ogilvy at the 2006 U.S. Open to win with two over-par rounds on the weekend. Meanwhile, Im becomes just the third player under 22 to lead the FedExCup.
Welcome to the Monday Finish.
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1. Once he got the lead, he didn’t let go. First-, second- and third-round leaders often don’t win. Hatton? All he did was convert on his first 36- and 54-hole leads on TOUR, and in some of the toughest conditions players will see all season. How hard was it? Even the winners, and there were multiple winners, sounded wrung out. Joel Dahmen, who shot 1-under 71 to finish T5 and earn a berth in The Open Championship with Keith Mitchel (71) and Danny Lee (75) at Royal St. George’s in July, said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever played a tougher four days.” Added Mitchell: “Almost impossible.” For more on Hatton becoming the fifth straight international winner at Bay Hill, click here.
2. He tamed the closing holes. Hatton went a combined 3 under on the long, par-3 17th and potentially disastrous par-4 18th hole for the week, hitting the greens 75 percent of the time and refusing to make a single bogey. That was 3.5 shots better than the field, and more than accounted for his winning margin. Not that he was totally confident on those holes. “The 5-iron into 17,” he said Sunday. “It's amazing the thoughts that you can have upon impact, because at impact I genuinely thought I had hit a spinny cut into the water. So to look up and see it having a little baby draw into the pin is, obviously, I was quite relieved at that.”
3. He didn’t self-destruct. Hatton admitted David Feherty summed him up perfectly on NBC’s broadcast: “He’s nice to everybody but himself.” Hatton caught a wind gust and double-bogeyed the 11th hole, but didn’t boil over as he might have done in the past. “Yeah, it was really tough out there and obviously I was getting frustrated at times, but nowhere near the blowups that I am capable of,” said Hatton, who hit what he called the best tee shot of the day at the 12th hole. “It's just one of those days where you just got to stick in there, and patience is one of the hardest things with me. To think that I've shot, what was it? 3-over for the weekend and ended up winning the tournament. If you told me that on Friday night I wouldn't have believed you.”
Leishman enjoying stellar season
Keep an eye on Marc Leishman at THE PLAYERS Championship and beyond. The winner of the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this season, Leishman was going for his second victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational; he would have been right there had Hatton slipped up, or had Leishman’s long birdie putt dropped at the 17th hole. As it was, the runner-up finish means he has a win (2017), second (2020) and third-place finish (T3/2011) in 11 starts at Bay Hill. “It wasn't the start I was after today and I fought really hard,” said Leishman, who opened with two pars but double-bogeyed the third hole. “I birdied the par-5s on the back nine and that's what you got to do around here. So, yeah, a little bit disappointed, but it was a strong week. Signs are good for next week. Tyrell played good, did what he needed to do and on a really, really tough golf course.” For more on who is playing well heading into THE PLAYERS, click here.
McIlroy sees parallels with last year
World No. 1 McIlroy made two double bogeys on the front nine and go out in 40 on the way to a final-round 76. Still, he hasn’t finished outside the top six in his last four starts at Bay Hill, and hasn’t finished out of the top five in six TOUR starts this season. Going back to his victory at the TOUR Championship and FedExCup last season, that makes seven in a row. McIlroy, who has ranked inside the top 10 on the leaderboard in 21 of his last 22 rounds on TOUR, joins Tiger Woods as the only players with seven or more consecutive top-five finishes since 2000. “Two loose shots sort of cost me,” McIlroy said. “The third shot on 6 and then the tee shot on 9.” But he wasn’t without optimism heading into his title defense at THE PLAYERS. “There's a lot of similarities between the start of this year and the start of last year,” he said. “A lot of chances not converting, but knowing that the game's pretty much there.”
“You have to believe in yourself, otherwise you’ve got no chance.” – Tyrrell Hatton
“You would like to, but if you play like this you got a long way to go.” – Brooks Koepka (81-71 on the weekend, T47) on his desire to return to world No. 1.
“I totally blocked it.” – Bryson DeChambeau (71, 4th place) on his approach shot from the rough on 18, which barely cleared the hazard before he rolled in the 13-foot birdie putt
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is a season-long competition that offers a $10 million bonus for the 10 golfers who end the regular season at the Wyndham Championship inside the top 10 in FedExCup points. The player atop the standings will earn $2 million, with varying payoffs for the others through $500,000 for the 10th place finisher.
There were big changes after Arnold Palmer Invitational, with third-place finisher Sungjae Im taking over for Justin Thomas in pole position. Meanwhile, runner-up Marc Leishman goes from 13th and into the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 at No. 7.
Here’s how the standings look heading into THE PLAYERS Championship:
THIS WEEK LAST WEEK PLAYER 1. 2. Sungjae Im
2. 1. Justin Thomas 3. 3. Rory McIlroy 4. 5.
Brendon Todd 5. 4.
Webb Simpson 6. 6.
Patrick Reed 7. 13.
Lanto Griffin 9. 8.
Sebastian Munoz 10. 9.