Tyrrell Hatton became just the second player to claim four Rolex Series titles after a flawless performance in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship helped him overturn the overnight lead of his playing partner Rory McIlroy and clinch a four-stroke victory.
The Englishman has now won two of the last three Rolex Series events, having lifted the BMW PGA Championship title last October, and his latest victory is timely with the European Points List restarting this week in the race to qualify for Padraig Harrington’s European Ryder Cup side.
Hatton’s was another nerveless final round display as the 29-year-old cruised to three birdies on the front nine, while McIlroy dropped shots at the par three fourth and par five eighth holes, to lose any momentum created by the early birdies at the second and third.
Victory rarely looked in doubt for Hatton as he played assured and calculated golf down the stretch, three birdies on the way home wrapping up a flawless six under final round 66, an 18 under total and a sixth European Tour win. He now joins Jon Rahm as the only other player to lift four Rolex Series titles, and becomes the first Race to Dubai leader of the 2021 campaign.
Australia’s Jason Scrivener claimed the best result of his career on the European Tour, a final round 66 earning him runner-up spot, while McIlroy claimed his eighth top three finish in 11 appearances at Abu Dhabi Golf Club after the Northern Irishman signed for a level par 72.
Tyrrell Hatton: “I’m thrilled to be honest. Even knocking the putt in on 18, it doesn’t seem like I’ve won the tournament. Obviously it’s amazing. I’ve always loved starting my season here in Abu Dhabi, and to now add my name on that trophy with so many great champions before me is a huge honour. I think the big moment for me today was the putt on ten. Maybe that was going eight feet past and just hit the hole. That’s huge.
“Then my tee shot on 11, that’s pitched on the side of the bunker and it’s come out. It could have – we’ve seen plugged lies in the lip this week, so that was another bit of good fortune. So I think that was a big turning point of the day for me.
“It’s massive. I mean, Ryder Cup points started again. That’s a huge goal for me this year to make that team. I’m absolutely delighted that I’ve managed to pick up a load of points this week, and now I’ll enjoy tonight and then my attention will turn to next week.”
Jason Scrivener: “I was in my own little world. My caddie and I just kind of kept plodding away. Wasn’t a good start, made a few soft bogeys, and then just kind of stuck with it and yeah, 29 on the back, which was pretty nice. Dave Alred’s (coach) been a game changer for me. Really taught me — we sat down probably two months before Christmas at the end of my season last year, and he’s really helped me a lot and pushed me that bit extra to work harder.”
Rory McIlroy: “I started great with two birdies in the first three. And then I felt like there was a few putts I hit today, the wind affected the putts more than maybe the last couple days. So there was the one on four, the three-putt, and there were a couple others, the couple of bogeys around the turn didn’t help.
“I thought I was in good position on ten and Tyrrell was outside of me, makes that putt for birdie, and then I can’t make mine for eagle and that was a huge sort of momentum-keeper for him. Then I bogeyed the next and after that, it was sort of hard to get back into it.
“I don’t feel like I played great this week, felt like I was managing my game a bit. Nice to get a competitive week under my belt and see where my game is at and what I need to do to keep on improving. Hopefully I’ll get on the plane tonight and head over to Torrey Pines and tee it up there next week.”