Friday, July 13, 2018

Hatton chip in for a 64 gives him Scottish Open lead at Gullane

Tyrrell Hatton fired a flawless 64 to set the clubhouse target midway through the second round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane.

The 26 year old Englishman has claimed two of his three European Tour titles over links courses in Scotland and upped his bid for a second Rolex Series crown with six unanswered birdies.

At 11 under par, Hatton led by one from compatriot Eddie Pepperell, who was round in 63, and Robert Rock, who was four under for the day through seven holes.

The highlight of Hatton's round came when he chipped in on the 15th, and afterwards he said:  "I'm very happy with that. Not quite how I wanted to play, but overall, if I can play like that and score that well, then that's obviously really good. So I'll take a bit of confidence from that and hopefully have a good weekend.

"That was a bonus to see that one go in [on 15]. Slightly awkward stance and you hope that you get a good strike and get it close enough to the hole where you can make par and to see it drop was obviously very nice."

Lee Westwood made it four English players in the top five as a 67 left him nine under alongside Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who had four holes of his second round remaining.

Overnight leader Luke List and South Africans Dylan Frittelli and Trevor Immelman were in the clubhouse on eight under, while a course record 62 took Scotland's Connor Syme to seven under.

With 96 players breaking par on the opening day as a lack of wind left the par-70 layout almost defenceless and similar conditions on Friday for the early starters, Syme raced to the turn in 29 and picked up another birdie on the 11th.

Syme, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Wednesday, also birdied the 18th.

"It was an early start but fortunately we're being hosted by a couple who have a house next to the course and I was aiming at it off my tee shot on 18; that gives you an idea of how close it is," the former Walker Cup player said.

"It gave me a bit of a longer lie-in and it was great to get a good round in under the belt. It was key to get under par early and I managed to get four under through six which gave me a really good opportunity to have a good score, so I'm absolutely delighted."

Former Masters champion Immelman held off Tiger Woods to win at Augusta National in 2008 but has recorded just one win in the subsequent decade after years of struggling with injuries and a loss of form.

"This game has been really good to me," the 38-year-old South African said after shooting a 64. "I have nothing to complain about whatsoever.

"I was lucky to play my best when Tiger was playing his best so I rode his coat-tails for a few years and did quite well. This is my 20th year out on Tour and in any other sport it's kind of unheard of.

"This year I've hit my irons well, the problem is the driver gets a little squirrelly now and then. To be honest it's never been a weapon in my career but I've managed to keep the driver in play a little better and just found a little bit of momentum."


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