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Hatton reflects on his first months as a pro
TYRRELL Hatton is back home in Marlow for a week reflecting on a sensational month on the European Tour that culminated with a joint second-place finish in South Africa last Sunday.
The 22-year-old is in his rookie year on tour but he has taken the step up from the Challenge Tour in his stride with a tenth and 22nd place finish before registering his best finish as a professional at the Joburg Open.
Speaking exclusively to the Bucks Free Press, he said: "It’s been a great four weeks away.
"I have surprised myself, but I did feel that if I played well I’d be able to compete.
"But I still think there is more to come.
"I’ve made lots of birdies in the last four weeks. I’ve made 68 birdies and two eagles. It’s just the bogeys I need to get rid of now.
"It could have been so much better."
Hatton had already announced himself on Europe’s top tier with high-place finishes at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and the Qatar Masters, before he jetted off to South Africa for the Joburg Open.
Three solid opening rounds set him up for another top ten finish, before he catapulted through the field in the closing holes.
He said: "I was a little nervous coming down the last few holes in South Africa.
"I was tied for eighth coming down the 17th, but I finished birdie, birdie to come second.
"It’s what you practice for, to do well in situations like that."
Hatton is now up to 31st in the Race to Dubai, a glittering finale to the European Tour when the top 60 golfers compete for a purse of just short of £5m at the World Tour Championship.
He said: "At the start of the Tour I was thinking I just wanted to keep my card and keep my playing rights for 2015.
"That’s still my aim, but if I keep going and got into the top 60 and qualified for the Race for Dubai that would be unbelievable.
"I’d be over the moon with that."
He has certainly shown the early season form to warrant a place.
He said: "I’ve been hitting more fairways and that’s enabled me to go for more pins.
"And I’ve been making more putts. That’s been vital.
"I got a new putter in Abu Dhabi and the greens are better, so you can have more confidence that if you start the ball on the right line it will go in."
Hatton’s form hasn’t come completely out of the blue. He soared up the Challenge Tour rankings in the final weeks of last season to earn his European Tour card, and has already qualified for two Open Championships.
However, he admits he’s still a little overawed to be sharing the fairways with the superstars of the game every week.
He said: "This is my first year, so when I see McIlroy or Mickelson or Woods I’m still a bit in awe.
"I’m quite shy, not one to just go up to them and talk to them, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon."