You’d be forgiven, midway through Sunday’s final round of the Players Championship, to think Tyrrell Hatton wouldn’t scare the first page of the leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass.
After seven straight pars to open his round, he went birdie-bogey on 8 and 9 to turn in even-par 36. After that? Things got a lot more exciting.
Hatton birdied seven of the final nine holes on the Stadium Course — including the last five — to shoot a seven-under 29 and tie a back-nine scoring record. He’s the first player, however, to shoot that number in a final round.
His 65 also gave him the clubhouse lead at 12 under, which at the time put him in second place behind 54-hole leader Scottie Scheffler, who was 15 under through nine holes.
All this after Hatton started the day nine shots off the lead.
“Just a pretty mad two-and-a-half hours in the end, I guess, from standing on the 10th tee,” Hatton said. “So really happy with how it’s played out. Yeah, good day’s work.”
Hatton is English, so he meant the good kind of mad. But anybody who is familiar with his game knows the other meaning of it often describes his demeanor too. That wasn’t the case on the back nine Sunday. He finished in style, knocking it to within a couple of feet on the iconic par-3 17th and following it up with a brilliant approach out of the pine straw on 18. It landed on the green and left just 11 feet for birdie, which he rolled in for his fifth straight.
“It was a risky shot, but it never crossed my mind to just try and chip out,” he said. “The wind was sort of in off the left so it was kind of helping me with the shot. At the end of the day, I was just trying to cut it, and over-cutting it is going to be a better miss than coming out dead straight. What made it more good was the lie, the fact that I couldn’t get the club properly behind the ball and had to hover it quite far back. But, yeah, for it to come out as well as it did, obviously I was delighted with. Then, yeah, very happy to hole the putt at the end of it.”
If Scheffler continues to run away with the tournament, which looks like it might happen, Hatton will still be compensated quite well if he stays solo second: that would pay out $2.725 million. Even a top-five finish is good for seven figures. You can check out the complete payout breakdown here.