The Punter's De-Brief: Turkish delight for tenacious Tyrrell

Golfer Tyrrell Hatton
A happy Tyrrell Hatton with his Turkey Airlines Open trophy

England's Tyrrell Hatton has won the Turkish Airlines Open after a thrilling six-man playoff. Read our man's take on all the twists and turns in Turkey here...

"This was Tyrrell Hatton’s fourth win on the European Tour, his first for just over two years and his second Rolex Series title so four of the last five Rolex Series events have now been won by someone that had previously won one."

Bang in-form Austrian, Matthias Schwab, a pre-event 38.037/1 chance, led from the start at the Turkish Airlines Open but his failure to birdie the par five 18th for the first time all week on Sunday, meant the event went into extra time.

Schwab was matched at a low of 1.564/7 as early as the 11th hole on Saturday and his price dipped to just 1.434/9 during regulation play yesterday but he couldn't quite get over the line. Having played the first three rounds in 18-under-par, the 24 year-old birdied two of his first four holes in round four but he played the final 16 in level-par and we got to enjoy the European Tour's first six-man playoff in 16 years.

Schwab's pedestrian finish had allowed Kurt Kitayama, a pre-event 60.059/1 chance, to draw alongside the Austrian, courtesy of an eight-under-par 64, and both 30.029/1 chance, Erik Van Rooyen, and 44.043/1 shot, Victor Perez, got into the playoff after seven-under-par 65s. Eventual winner, Tyrrell Hatton, a pre-event 20.019/1 shot, and big outsider, Benjamin Hebert, a 240.0239/1 chance before the off, both fired five-under-par 67s.

Perez, who birdied four of his last five, and Van Rooyen, who eagled the 72nd hole, were both matched at 1000.0 in-running, Kitayama and Hebert both hit highs of 320.0319/1 in-running and Hatton hit a high of 60.059/1 during regulation play. He'd get matched at higher in extra time...

At the start of the playoff, the market struggled to separate Hatton, Schwab and Van Rooyen, with the three trading at around 5.49/2 and the outsider of the six, Hebert, was no bigger than 7.06/1.

Van Rooyen was the first to fall after a wayward tee shot left him in trouble. He went on to record a bogey six and Perez and Hebert were also eliminated with par fives. Hatton looked certain to join them after his third shot from a tricky position behind the green ran through the putting surface and he was matched at a high of 95.094/1 before this bit of magic happened.


Kitayama was matched at a low of 1.68/13 when he stood over a ten-foot birdie putt to take the title at the second extra hole but it slipped by and he couldn't match Hatton and Schwab's birdie fours at the third extra hole. We were down to two as darkness descended and for the first time in European Tour history, floodlights kept the action going.

At the fourth extra hole, Hatton thought he'd blown his chance to take the title when his birdie putt slipped agonisingly by from about ten feet but moments later it was all over when poor Schwab missed this tiddler for par.


My Bets

I was quite hopeful that pre-event pick, Danny Willett, might take the title when he trailed by just a stroke at halfway but he fell away badly on Saturday and my in-running picks, Andrea Pavan and Alex Noren, were also disappointing.

As detailed in the final update in the In-Play Blog, I was reluctant to get any further involved before the final round and I sat patiently through much of the final round before eventually placing a small wager on Hatton at 4.216/5 with four holes left to play.

It looked like I'd merely made things worse when he missed a short birdie putt at the 15th but all's well that ends well I guess and I'm more than happy to have walked away with a tiny profit.

I found the playoff a bit painful when we were down to three, given I'd backed Kitayama in three of his last four starts, at 250/1 on the PGA Tour, 46.045/1 in France and 160.0159/1 in China, and that Schwab had been one of just two picks in this event 12 months ago, at 200.0199/1! Both are players to keep on the right side of.

What Have We Learned This Week?

The six playoff protagonists ranked first, second, third, tied fourth, tied fourth and 17th for Par 5 Performance, with Schwab's 20-under-par total all made up on the long holes. He was level par for the week on the par threes and the par fours.

This was Tyrrell Hatton's fourth win on the European Tour, his first for just over two years and his second Rolex Series title so four of the last five Rolex Series events have now been won by someone that had previously won one.

We're off to South Africa this week for another Rolex Series event - the Nedbank Golf Challenge - so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues and the PGA Tour returns to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. I'll be back this evening or tomorrow with the two previews.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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