Tyrrell Hatton sealed his second European Tour victory in seven days with a brilliant birdie at the last to win the Italian Open at Golf Club Milano.
Last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner carded six birdies – including five on the back nine – in a flawless 65 on Sunday to win his first Rolex Series event and now moves to fifth position in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
It had looked like the tournament would be decided by a play-off, with clubhouse leaders Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat alongside Hatton on 20 under par as he stood at the 18th tee, but the 26 year old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, calmly rolled in his birdie putt from 15 feet to get to 21 under and clinch the trophy.
Fisher, who was also pipped to the post by Hatton in Scotland last week, and Aphibarnrat had to settle for a share of second place, while England’s Matt Wallace finished in fourth on 19 under courtesy of a brilliant chip-in birdie at the 17th with Australian Marcus Fraser a further shot off the pace.
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood extended his lead at the top of the Rankings with a final round 67 to finish on 17 under alongside home favourite Francesco Molinari, South Africa’s George Coetzee and England’s David Horsey.
Fleetwood’s closest rivals to be crowned Europe’s Number One player for 2017 – World Number Five Jon Rahm and Masters Champion Sergio Garcia – finished tied 15th and tied 30th respectively.
Tyrell Hatton: “It’s an amazing feeling to win back-to-back. You know, slightly different circumstances today where I had to come from behind. I’m not sure how far back I was going into the back nine but I knew I needed plenty of birdies and was very fortunate that I holed a few putts coming in.
“I knew I needed a low score today, and the front nine, it was pretty slow and sort of didn’t really get any momentum. I was fighting myself, trying to stay patient, and you know, J.B (Jonathan Bell), my caddie, was saying, “Good things will come.” Although I found it hard to believe, I tried to stay patient and in the end, I guess I got my reward.
“Amazing to win one, but to win back-to-back, and defend in two weeks is unbelievable. It gives me a lot of confidence. Obviously winning last week, my game felt really good, and just taking that into this week and playing well again and giving myself another chance was great.
“To win a Rolex Series event is very special. They are new for this season and all the players are looking forward to playing in them. I’m just happy that I could win one of them after a poor showing in them during the summer.
“These are massive events for the European Tour. They get such a good field and are so well supported with the crowd. The crowds were amazing. It’s very special to win one of the big events on the European Tour.”
Ross Fisher: “It was good fun. Great fun playing with Marcus Fraser. We both knew we had to get off to a quick start and we both did that birdieing the first few holes. Just trying to push each other along and feed off each other.
“Made some birdies early on and gave myself plenty of chances coming home. Just unfortunately didn’t manage to hole any. Great to finish minus 20 and it’s great to be playing two weeks back-to-back and in contention and playing some of the best golf of my life.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “The last three rounds have been great. Just strange, that three-putt on 14, kind of leaves you feeling sick. I thought about that for my last four holes and I couldn’t get that out of my head, even though I finished well. It’s a Rolex Series event, they are massive events and it’s been a great result at the end.
“I’m still trying to win tournaments but gaining points is massive. I’ve had a good week, a good result. I’ve not played a lot recently and it was nice to have my juices flowing on Sunday being a little bit in contention. If I can do that every week coming in, then we’ll be happy at the end.
“It’s a strange scenario because you never look at what other players are doing but all of a sudden you start and you’ve got to stay away from looking at what Sergio (Garcia) is doing or what Jon (Rahm) is doing or whoever wins this tournament, maybe they get close.
“You have to just keep your eye on what you’re doing. I think it’s challenging mentally to make sure that you keep going, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a massive dream of mine to win the Race to Dubai, always will be, whether it happens this year or not.”
Top 20 scores:
263 T Hatton (Eng) 69 64 65 65,
264 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 64 67 68 65, R Fisher (Eng) 68 66 67 63,
265 M Wallace (Eng) 64 65 67 69,
266 M Fraser (Aus) 67 62 72 65,
267 T Fleetwood (Eng) 71 66 63 67, G Coetzee (RSA) 65 69 65 68, F Molinari (Ita) 64 68 66 69, D Horsey (Eng) 70 64 69 64,
268 N Bertasio (Ita) 68 67 69 64, M Warren (Sco) 66 69 67 66, E Pepperell (Eng) 64 69 69 66, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 67 67 66, M Jiménez (Esp) 70 67 66 65,
269 A Cañizares (Esp) 66 70 65 68, N Colsaerts (Bel) 68 68 67 66, M Kieffer (Ger) 68 66 66 69, B Hebert (Fra) 70 68 67 64, J Rahm (Esp) 67 68 69 65, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 68 69 64 68,
270 A Connelly (Can) 68 65 72 65, G Havret (Fra) 66 69 70 65, W Jeunghun (Kor) 68 67 68 67, A Byeong Hun (Kor) 65 69 66 70, J Smith (Eng) 70 67 70 63.
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