Defending Bay Hill Champion Tyrrell Hatton Hits Embarrassing Nightmare of a Shot and Weekend Golfers Can Relate

Last year Englishman Tyrrell Hatton won his first PGA Tour event against a loaded field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A year later, Hatton returned to defend his title in Florida, and things did not initially go as planned, with a 5-over 77 in his opening round. 

Hatton scrambled, and on Friday, fired a 67 and made the cut. After another stellar round Saturday, he found himself in contention at the start of his final round on Sunday at 6-under, just five shots behind the leader and fellow countryman Lee Westwood. After his opening tee shot found the left rough, Hatton pulled out a fairway wood for his second shot, and it didn’t go anywhere close to the plan. He looked like a weekend duffer more than the defending tournament champion and it was a portend of things to come.

Tyrrell Hatton wins 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational

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Last year, in winning his first PGA Tour title, Tyrrell Hatton had to battle the best golfers in the world and the elements. He got off to a fast start at Bay Hill, firing a 68 and 69 on Thursday and Friday, taking a share of the 36-hole lead with Sung Kang.

Over the weekend, the fast and firm golf in windy conditions sent scores soaring. Hatton shot a 1-over on Saturday and 2-over on Sunday, but both were considered solid scores under the circumstances. 

Tyrrell Hatton finished 4-under for the week and held on for a one-shot win over Marc Leishman. It was the highest winning score in the tournament’s 42-year history. 

Tyrrell Hatton starts Arnold Palmer event slow in 2021

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Tyrrell Hatton returned to Orlando this year with a ton of confidence after last year’s performance and first PGA Tour win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. After posting a score of 5-over in his opening round Thursday, Hatton looked like anything but the defending champion as he was tied for 107th out of the 123-man field. 

Hatton rebounded on Friday with a 67 and survived the cut by two strokes. On Saturday, the 29-year-old shot an even better 66 and rocketed up the leaderboard into contention, just five shots off the lead of Lee Westwood.  

Duffs a shot like every weekend golfer

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Tyrrell Hatton understood heading into the final round he needed to go low for any shot of possibly winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a second year in a row. After his first hole, Hatton knew that wasn’t a realistic expectation. 

Hatton’s drive off the first tee found the left gnarly rough and left him 181 yards to the green. What happened next was a scene that rarely plays out on the PGA Tour, but regularly on the local municipal courses.

Hatton pulled out a fairway wood and ripped at the ball buried deep in the grass. The white speck of a ball popped above the top blades of grass for just a split second, bouncing a couple of times off the top of the lush green grass, before disappearing 10 to 15 yards in front of him.

It was a shot most weekend golfers can totally relate to. Hatton managed to bogey the hole. However, that shot was a precursor of things to come as Tyrrell Hatton finished 5-over for the day and a final score of 1-under. 

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