MARLOW’S Tyrrell Hatton is in a race against time to qualify for The Open Championship at Hoylake in two weeks time.
He needs to finish inside the top three in either of his next two events to secure what would be his third appearance in the event.
Hatton plays in the Alstom Open de France this weekend before going to Aberdeen for the Scottish Open, but he appears to be coming to the boil nicely after finishing just four shots behind the winner at the BMW International Open in Germany on Sunday.
Hatton, playing his first season on the full European Tour, carded rounds of 69, 67, 70, 67 for a fantastic minus 15 finish at the Golf Club Gut Larchenhof in Koln.
In one of the most tightly packed leaderboards of the year, his score was good enough for a tie for 22nd behind winner Fabrizio Zanotti, earning him a cheque of just under £17,000.
Hatton might have even challenged for the title if he’d got his putter working during the first three days, when he wasn’t able to take advantage of some excellent play tee to green.
After Friday’s round he tweeted: "Pretty happy with the last two days, tee to green has been great, struggling to hole putts atm, hopefully some will drop over the weekend."
And Saturday was a similar story: "Another frustrating day on the greens, played good each round just can’t hole a putt! 68th out of 69 in putts per GIR [greens in regulation] and putts per round."
However, Hatton shot up the leaderboard on the final day with seven birdies, bringing his total for the week to 22.
He tweeted: "Worst I played all week but short game was great and holed a few putts! -15 for four rounds and wasn’t inside top 20."
Hatton only won his full tour card in the final weeks of the Challenge Tour last autumn, when he finished with four top tens in his final five tournaments, including two ties for second.
He took that form onto the main tour as he finished tenth at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, 22nd at the Qatar Masters and then tied for second at the Joburg Open.
That set him up for the season, but results tailed off before a June comeback including his tie for 17th at the Lyoness Open before last weekend’s fine finish.
The Open Championship tees off at Hoylake on July 17.