Tyrrell Hatton has pledged to keep his cool as he chases a first victory for two years in the Turkish Airlines Open, where compatriot Eddie Pepperell suffered an embarrassing exit.
Hatton carded a third round of 65 to share second place in Antalya with Patrick Reed, Ross Fisher, Robert MacIntyre and Benjamin Hebert, three shots behind leader Matthias Schwab.
In contrast, Pepperell did not even finish his round and was disqualified for failing to complete the fourth hole, his 13th of the day.
Pepperell was two over par for the round after dropping shots on the second and third and then hit his approach to the next into the water guarding the green.
In a scene reminiscent of the film ‘Tin Cup’, Pepperell had several more attempts – even his caddie could not say for certain whether it was four or five – before informing playing partners Martin Kaymer and George Coetzee that he had run out of balls.
Pepperell is likely to fined by the European Tour for the incident, something Hatton has experience of after acts of petulant on-course behaviour, including smashing a tee marker to pieces at the World Cup in Melbourne in November 2018.
“There’s times where I can’t help myself, but that’s just me,” the 28-year-old Ryder Cup winner said. “Obviously if I can keep myself as cool as I can be tomorrow then I’ll give myself the best chance possible and that’s all I can ask for.
“I’ve felt a big performance coming. Normally I’m quite a negative person but, in the last sort of month, I’ve actually felt quite confident. The putting is the one thing I’ve kind of struggled with a little bit.
“I’ve actually gone back to same shape of putter I used when I won twice back in 2017 and got my first win with the year before. Obviously I do have some good memories with that and hopefully it can provide some magic tomorrow.”
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship R3
Reed believes the second sub-60 round in European Tour history could be possible after he let several shots slip in his 65.
“I three-putted the 13th from five feet, which turned a birdie opportunity into a bogey and missed a really short one on the fourth as well and that’s three shots right there and that’s a 10-under par round,” the former Masters champion said.
“That’s not including the other putts that I feel like I missed or stuff I let get away. So I wouldn’t be surprised if someone could go shoot 59, 60, 61 out here. It’s out there, especially with how benign the wind has been and how warm, so the ball is travelling.”
MacIntyre illustrated that point by driving the green on the par-four 15th and holing from three feet for an eagle, the 23-year-old left-hander then picking up shots on the 16th and 18th to complete a 67.
MacIntyre leads the race to be crowned European Tour rookie of the year after three runners-up finishes this season, as well as a tie for sixth in the Open, and said: “I’ve shot under par every time in them situations so I’m just going to play my golf.
“I’m just going to stick to my game plan, being aggressive on approach shots and driver off almost every tee. Just got to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully that will be good at the end of the week.”