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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Tyrrell Hatton happy with his good start at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

The Englishman scores 64 to be two off the pace after first day and believes it was vital to start the tournament well.

Tyrrell Hatton shot a 64 on the opening day of the Dubai Desert Classic. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP
Tyrrell Hatton shot a 64 on the opening day of the Dubai Desert Classic. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

A drive for self-improvement can sometimes make Tyrrell Hatton seem more than a little impetuous.

To be fair, he does have a lot going for him. Viewed by many as the future of English golf alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Hatton is currently ranked 18th in the world and has three European Tour victories already, aged 26. He won back-to-back last October. Consequently, he looks set for a Ryder Cup debut later this year.

However, Hatton still appeared frustrated as he walked off his opening round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Which was a surprise, given there was plenty more good than bad. In fact, with six birdies, one eagle and no bogeys contributing to an excellent 64, there was nothing really to complain about.

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“I guess you can't be too disappointed with 8-under,” said Hatton, who ended the day in fourth, two off early leader Jamie Donaldson. “Though I may not have looked like it on that last green there. Obviously I wanted to hole that one on the last. Overall a good day and good start to the tournament.”

Asked if he tries not to be too down on himself - Hatton has often been criticised for his demeanour - he replied: “Obviously I could improve on it slightly, but it kind of depends what mood I wake up in in the morning, I guess.

“I guess I always want to be better than I've shot.”

Typically, Hatton shoots well in the UAE. Two years ago, he finished second at the DP World Tour Championship, the tour’s season finale, in Dubai. He was sixth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in 2015.

At last year’s Classic, only Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson finished above him on the leaderboard, while Hatton registered a hugely credible top 10 on his previous appearance.

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Evidently, he likes it around the Majlis. “I was just thinking the other day, I finished eighth and third the last two times I played it,” Hatton said.

“I really like it here. I always enjoy playing in Dubai – obviously the DP World, as well, which is great. So hopefully I can have another good finish this week.”

Given the scoring at Emirates Golf Club on Thursday, Hatton knew he needed a good start also. Donaldson came within a putt of equalling the 24-year-old course record, which remains 61. Anthony Wall and David Horsey both shot 63s. Twenty-one players lie within two strokes of Hatton, including tournament favourite Rory McIlroy and Garcia, the defending champion.

So getting a jump on as many people as possible was required.

“This is the kind of week where scoring is going to be low, so you want to get off to a good start and keep that going,” Hatton said. “Obviously if you get off to a slower start then it's hard to catch up.

“But I'm really happy with how I played today: no bogeys, and hopefully it's just more of the same, really. That's the key.”