Tyrrell Hatton opens an impressive lead in the re-hit HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi … as Rory McIlroy can’t build a brilliant start
- Tyrrell Hatton is five strokes ahead of four players who are currently in second place
- The Englishman is -12 after two rounds of the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi
- Rory McIlroy hesitated, one day when darkness meant the game was suspended early
Twenty minutes apart, the European Tour’s social media team posted two tweets on Friday about the wonderful conundrum that is Tyrrell Hatton.
The first showed him in a mock therapy session for angry golfers, and the second was footage of his newest eagle in Abu Dhabi, threatening to strike the field.
Two sides of the same fascinating coin, but we’ve long passed the point where Hatton’s achievements are overshadowed by his bursts of temper on the track.
Tyrell Hatton is five strokes ahead after two rounds of the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi
The Englishman was able to claim his third big win in 14 months with two more laps left over the weekend
His score has done that, and in the desert there is now a significant chance of him taking a third major win in 14 months.
By reaching 12 under par through 13 holes of his second round before play was suspended at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the Englishman has a five strokes lead over Rory McIlroy, who is tied for second place in four directions.
While McIlroy couldn’t build on the excellent opening day 64 – he was one past 14 when bad light stopped the game – Hatton was imperious.
He restarted at seven under, one behind McIlroy, sank his third eagle of the week on the second, then collected four consecutive birdies from the seventh. His only shot dropped was with the third.
Rory McIlroy failed to build on a great opening round of 64 and was +1 for the day
It would only be worth £ 1 million to Hatton if he can make it through Sunday.
“I’m clearly in a great position right now,” said the world’s number 9, who cleared six yards on the 13th in fading light to save par. ‘It was definitely tough out there, so I’m really happy to be five under.
‘I have five holes left to play in the morning and it may be a bit long of a wait if I finish in the morning before I go to round three. But it will be fine. I’ll just try to stay loose and see how we go. ‘
Darkness meant that the game was suspended and the second round was not yet fully completed
McIlroy had a frustrating day after his spot-free lap on Thursday. He started well with birdies on the first and third to go down 10, but failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker to save par on the fourth.
A double bogey followed on fifth after driving through the trees and further shots at 10 and 13 had the four-time great champion on track for a player’s worst lap in the top 30 of the standings.
Birdie at eight and 14 brought him back down to seven and he will resume on Saturday morning at 3 p.m. with a 20-foot birdie. A bogey-free 67 brought Tommy Fleetwood down to six, alongside Matt Wallace, who has six holes to play from his second round.