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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

DP World Tour Championship: 'Bitter pill to swallow' for Hatton after narrowly missing course record

Englishman was level with Justin Rose's current best score before a bogey on the 18th hole.

Tyrrell Hatton of England tees off on the 18th hole during the second round of the DP World Tour Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
Tyrrell Hatton of England tees off on the 18th hole during the second round of the DP World Tour Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Tyrrell Hatton missed out narrowly on setting a new course record at the DP World Tour Championship on Friday, but still shot a 9-under-par 63 to move to the top of the leaderboard.

The Englishman, runner-up at the tournament last year, began the day at Jumeirah Golf Estates on level-par and in a tie for 40th, but vaulted 39 spots after recording easily his best round in 13 attempts on the Earth course. He sits 9-under for the tournament.

Hatton, who won back-to-back events in October, got his second round off to a great start by firing three birdies and an eagle between holes three and seven. He then opened the back nine with three straight birdies before adding another two from the 16th.

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However, his second to the par-5 18th plugged in the greenside bunker, with Hatton taking two to get out. He then missed his par putt to equal Justin Rose's record 62 from 2012.

“Obviously if you said at the start of the day I would shoot 9-under, I would be over the moon,” Hatton said. “Pretty bitter pill to swallow on 18. That hole seems to hate me. Hopefully one day I'll actually play it well. Overall, I'm really happy with today. Obviously my head is a bit all over the place after 18.

“It was nice to hole putts again," he added. "That was a big thing today. There was a little substitution with the putter from yesterday, so that seemed to work well. If I can keep putting like that for the rest of the tournament, then hopefully on Sunday, I'll give myself a good chance.

“But I felt a lot better today. Yesterday I was struggling with cramps in my back and a horrific blister on my foot. It's just the blister now, so a spoonful of cement at dinner and I'll be all right tomorrow.”

Hatton had concluded his round not long after overnight night leader Patrick Reed began his. The morning’s other big mover was Tommy Fleetwood, with the current Race to Dubai frontrunner rebounding from Thursday’s disappointing 73 with an excellent 65 to move into a tie for third.

Rose, his only genuine rival for the seasonal crown, was heading out for his second round just as Fleetwood was finishing. At that stage, the pair was locked on 6-under.

"It's all about how you react to stuff, isn't it?" Fleetwood said. "Yesterday I was really happy with how I reacted early on. Got off to a bad start and got back into it and I didn't really play great. Missed a couple of putts and it was one of them rounds.

"Yeah, it was a big day. But today, you get over it, you move on, and still three rounds of golf left to play; now there's two. Swing felt a lot better. I was on the putting green until dark last night. Today was just a much better today."

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