Friday, September 29, 2017

18,368 see Hatton hits the heights 

GettyImages-855166514 Tyrrell Hatton (by courtesy of Getty Images)

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton finished with back-to-back birdies to join South African George Coetzee at the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports.
An impressive crowd of 18,368 lined the fairways at Close House as the European Tour returned to the north east of England for the first time in 15 years, and the fans were treated to a day of low scoring, with Coetzee setting the clubhouse target of seven under par after a round of 63 which included six birdies and an eagle on the sixth hole.
Hatton then matched that score, posting eight birdies of his own, including six on the back nine, as the 25 year old continued his return to form following a tied third place finish in his last European Tour appearance in the Omega European Masters.
Five players are one shot back on six under par, including Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, who already has a European Tour victory to his name in 2017, while tournament host Lee Westwood is three shots off the pace in a share of 13th place after a bogey-free round of 66.
Four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy opened with a three under par round of 67 in his penultimate tournament before taking a break to recover from an ongoing rib injury.
Player quotes
Tyrrell Hatton: “It was a really good day. I played lovely out there and gave myself plenty of chances. Managed to convert a few at the end and I'm looking forward to putting on the greens tomorrow morning when they are a little bit fresher. Hopefully I can keep the form going with my swing and post another good number.
“I hit a lot of good iron shots today, and it's nice to feel comfortable in my swing again. Obviously I had a really bad summer, which is frustrating but you're going to go through these phases. Golf is hard and I'm happy with where I'm at now.”
George Coetzee: “Happy with the score. A couple of niggles actually while I was playing that weren't that good, but had the opportunities when they came, and we were able to post a pretty good number.
“I think I made a 50-footer on the first hole, so never looked like making birdie there, but a nice putt, and then a couple good shots on the second hole. I don't remember what hole the par five is up there, but I hit a pretty good two-iron into a couple of feet and got the eagle, so it was nice to get momentum early.”
Lee Westwood: “It was nice to get out there and get my spikes on and play golf. I've had a lot on, a lot of media stuff and a few functions and presentations, which I don't mind doing - I think that's all part of being the host - but the end of the day, I would like to play well this week, and it was nice to get my spikes on and try to make a few birdies.
“It's been well supported - I think 18,500 today - just impressive, phenomenal, the way the locals and the people from the area, all over the country are supporting the event. It's great to see. I was excited and slightly relieved to see so many people and so many people having a good time, everyone enjoying the golf course and enjoying the tournament.”
Rory McIlroy: “I felt like I played solid enough. I didn't do anything great but I didn't do anything really bad either. Probably a fair reflection of how the day went. I got lucky on the fourth hole. I hit it left of the green and thought it was in the hazard, but it stayed up and was able to get that up-and-down for par.
“I've been seeing some positives over my game in the last week as I've practiced. My iron play is starting to get better, wedge play is starting to get better, those are the things that I've really struggled with this year and I feel like they are going in the right direction.
“It's fantastic. This golf tournament, it's got a great support from its inception a couple years ago, and this is the first time I've played. I think this part of the world, they haven't seen a top-class golf tournament like this for a long time and they have come out in their numbers and it's great to see.
“I'll play Dunhill next week and I won't tee it up again until 2018. Basically to give myself a bit of time to recover from this injury that's been bothering me all year. It's been a big year in my life away from the golf course this year, and I'm not saying that that had an effect on what happened on it, I feel like the injury held me back from practicing. But if I can't take time off at this part of the year, when can I take any time off.”

First round scores
par 70
63 G Coetzee (SAf) , T Hatton (Eng)
64 M Korhonen (Finland) , A Quiros (Spn) , C Hanson (Eng) , M Ilonen (Finland) , R Karlberg (Swe)
65 J Carlsson (Swe) , L Slattery (Eng) , A Chesters (Eng) , J Stalter (Fra) , G Storm (Eng)
66 G McDowell (NIre) , I Poulter (Eng) , M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , A Dodt (Australia) , R Karlsson (Swe) , P Dunne (Ire) , M Kaymer (Ger) , D Brooks (Eng) , L Westwood (Eng) , K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , F Fritsch (Ger) ,
67 G Havret (Fra) , R Ramsay (Sco) , L Haotong (China) , R Fisher (Eng) , D Fichardt (SAf) , C Wood (Eng) , W Ormsby (Australia) , G Stal (Fra) , N Fasth (Swe) , R Gouveia (Portugal) , J Scrivener (Australia) , J Walters (SAf) , F Aguilar (Chile) , L Bjerregaard (Denmark) , R McIlroy (NIre)
68 J Lagergren (Swe) , J Wang (Kor) , M Foster (Eng) , S Jamieson (Sco) , M Carlsson (Swe) , A Sullivan (Eng) , P Larrazábal (Spn) , S Lowry (Ire) , P Waring (Eng) , D Lingmerth (Swe) , P Angles (Spn) , R Rock (Eng) , G Bourdy (Fra) ,
69 D Horsey (Eng) , S Heisele (Ger) , B Rumford (Aus) , S Gallacher (Sco) , M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) , A Hansen (Den) , N Bertasio (Ita) , R Sterne (RSA) , E Pepperell (Eng) , L Canter (Eng) , M Wallace (Eng) , D Willett (Eng) , B Stone (RSA) , A Levy (Fra) , T Jaidee (Tha) , D Frittelli (RSA) , A Wall (Eng) , B Dredge (Wal) ,
70 O Fisher (Eng) , J Campillo (Spn) , B Wiesberger (Austria) , N Elvira (Spn) , A Otaegui (Spn) , S Manley (Wales) , J Edfors (Swe) , J Morrison (Eng) , H Porteous (SAf) , S Lee (SKor) , S Gros (Fra) , E De La Riva (Spn) , A Rai (Eng) , M Siem (Ger) , M Warren (Sco) , T Lewis (Eng) , B Hebert (Fra) , A Cañizares (Spn) , E Molinari (Ita) , J Donaldson (Wales) , J Olazábal (Spn) , S Garcia (Spn)
71 D Drysdale (Sco) , J Lima (Por) , R Langasque (Fra) , D Stewart (Sco) , B Ritthammer (Ger) , S Soderberg (Swe) , S Walker (Eng) , A Noren (Swe) , J Fahrbring (Swe) , S Dyson (Eng) , M Jiménez (Spn) , J Smith (Eng) , N Kimsey (Eng) , P Hanson (Swe) , J Quesne (Fra) , R Williams (am) (Eng) ,
72 P Peterson (USA) , T Aiken (SAf) , V Dubuisson (Fra) , S Chawrasia (Ind) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , L Jensen (Den) , R Jacquelin (Fra) , S Hend (Aus) , R Bland (Eng) , D Perrier (Fra) , M Cort (Eng) , R Coles (Eng) , D Im (USA) , J Lupton (Eng)
73 A Knappe (Ger) , S Brazel (Aus) , W Ashun (Chn) , M Manassero (Ita) , C Paisley (Eng) , N Holman (Aus) , D Burmester (SAf) ,
74 R Knox (Sco) , M Fraser (Aus) , R Paratore (Ita) ,
76 M Armitage (Eng) , 



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