Tyrrell Hatton can continue purple patch at Zozo Championship and become highest-ranked Brit

James Corrigan
·3 min read
Tyrrell Hatton of England lines up a putt on the 12th green during the final round of The CJ Cup  - Getty Images
Tyrrell Hatton of England lines up a putt on the 12th green during the final round of The CJ Cup - Getty Images

Tyrrell Hatton has the chance this week to replace Rory McIlroy as the UK No 1 after continuing his hot streak in Las Vegas.

The Englishman, who won the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW Championship, a week ago last Sunday, defied the eight-hour time difference to finish third behind American Jason Kokrak in the CJ Cup. 

Added to his haul from Wentworth, the £435,000 Hatton won at Shadow Creek - closing with a 65 for a 17-under total, three behind Kokrak, with Xander Schauffele on 18-under - means he has collected more than £1.3m in his Transatlantic fortnight.

The 29-year-old has also risen to a career high ninth in the world rankings and goes to Los Angeles for the Zozo Championship knowing that a win would take him into the world’s top five and leave only Spain’s Jon Rahm ahead of him in the European charts.

“Yeah, my game's in a good place at the moment,” Hatton said. “Winning last week, and obviously it was a long travel time to get here, thankfully my game's held up. I  battled a bit of jetlag to be honest, I felt fairly tired throughout the week, so I’m really happy with how I've played. It's still a great week to finish inside the top-five on the PGA Tour and I’m looking forward to LA.”

It is not all good news as Hatton can expect a fine from Sawgrass HQ after he three a club in temper during the third round, yet it says much about his current form that the Buckinghamshire man earned credit for the style with which he hurled his wedge, with even the Tour’s official Twitter feed posting a clip and praising his action. 

Hatton has inevitably become more popular in the betting markets for the Masters, that takes place in three weeks’ time, with Oddschecker reporting that he was the most backed golfer in the field from Sunday night through Monday attracting almost 15 percent of all the money stayed at odds of 33-1.

McIlroy is still second favourite (at around 10-1) behind Bryson DeChambeau (8-1) for Augusta, but he and his many admirers will be looking for improvement at Sherwood Country Club. His 66 on Saturday moved him into position for a final-round charge; alas, his 74 saw him tumble to a tie for 21st. McIlroy is now fifth in the rankings, his worst placing in 20 months. 

McIlroy simply needs to piece four rounds together and the plush California surroundings would be an appropriate venue with nine of the world’s top 10 in attendance, as well as defending champion Tiger Woods. 

Meanwhile it was confirmed that the Solheim Cup in the Costa del Sol in Sept, 2023 will take place the week immediately prior to the Ryder Cup in Rome.