Tyrrell Hatton is enjoying home comforts and the benefits of improved fitness as he made a superb start to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Hatton is back in the UK after a long post-lockdown stint on the PGA Tour, and his consistency has maintained his place in the top 15 of the world rankings despite his stay ending with a disappointing missed cut at the US Open.
The 28-year-old, who landed his first PGA Tour title at Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, fired a six-under 66 over a West Course playing much longer and tougher than usual, earning Hatton the early clubhouse lead.
Hatton has posted three top-five finishes since golf resumed after the 91-day shutdown, including a fifth place in the season-ending Tour Championship, and he attributed his encouraging run of results to being a more regular visitor to the gym.
“I’m pleased with how this year has been so far on the golf course,” said Hatton. “I feel like I’ve put in quite a lot of work off it as well, starting to go to the gym and stuff like that, which is stuff I haven’t really done previously. I think playing pain-free is an added bonus, and I definitely struggled with that for the previous two-and-a-half years.
“It wasn’t anything to help my golf to be honest. It was just for my own benefit where I was always quite a self-conscious person, anyway, and I didn’t like how I looked.
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“Obviously being in a sport brand, you kind of want to look good in clothing. The stage that I got to, I felt like I definitely didn’t. Just for my own benefit to make myself feel good, I kind of started in the gym and I’ve enjoyed that process, really.
“Weight-wise, I haven’t lost a huge amount. And in the last few weeks, when I’ve actually been home, I’ve probably undone a good bit of work I had done. I think the strongest I’ve been is actually going into the PGA and Memphis. Although I didn’t play great there, physically, that was probably the best I felt like I looked and felt.
“I feel if you’re in a good place, like for me, if I’m obviously happier, I’m going to be calmer on the golf course and that’s obviously going to help me, as well. I felt pretty relaxed out there today. I think that’s just having my home comforts again.
“Eight-and-a-half months away was a very long time, and yeah, I’ve loved the last two-and-a-half weeks I’ve spent in the UK.”
Hatton carded five birdies and chipped in for eagle at the fourth – his 14th – with his only blemish coming after a wayward drive at the seventh, which he followed with a bounce-back birdie to close out a superb days’ work.
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“Obviously it was tough this morning, and I hit a few poor shots, but the key thing was I recovered really well,” Hatton added. “I followed it up with a really good shot, so that kind of kept the momentum going. It was easy to make mistakes out there this morning, so I’m very happy with my round.
“I just feel pretty comfortable out on the golf course. I’ve been around it so many times now, so kind of almost has that home course feel and you just feel like you know it so well. Yeah, it was a nice start today and hopefully I can keep that going the next few days.”
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