Tyrrell Hatton rues costly error that led to World Match Play elimination but Masters debut await world No 14

The 25-year-old Englishman accidentally clipped his ball before a putt that resulted in a two-shot penalty

Phil Casey
Saturday 25 March 2017 11:59
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Tyrrell Hatton was knocked out of the World Match Play after reaching a play-off on Friday night
Tyrrell Hatton was knocked out of the World Match Play after reaching a play-off on Friday night

Tyrrell Hatton consoled himself with the prospect of his Masters debut after his WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play campaign came to a highly unfortunate end.

Hatton's defeat to Rafa Cabrera Bello in the final round of group matches meant the pair went into a play-off with Charles Howell to determine who would advance to the last 16 at Austin Country Club.

But after missing a birdie putt on the first play-off hole, Hatton accidentally touched his ball as he prepared to tap in for par and failed to replace it before holing out.

That meant a two-shot penalty and saw the world number 14 eliminated, while Howell went on to secure victory at the fifth extra hole and set up a clash with Spain's Jon Rahm, who had earlier thrashed compatriot Sergio Garcia 6&4.

Hatton told Sky Sports: "As I've gone to put the putter down behind the ball I've clipped it and knocked it a centimetre forward.

"Straight away you have to call it on yourself. Obviously it's a disappointing day for me to lose this morning and have a great chance to go through to the last 16.

"Maybe it's karma for me how I behaved the previous two days on the golf course. All I know it's a tough pill to swallow at the moment.

"It's probably the worst way it could have ended. The referee said 'Did I replace the ball?' because if I'd replaced it then I wouldn't have gotten the penalty, but obviously by then it was too late and I'd knocked the putt in.

"I'm only human, I'm going to make mistakes as I've done today. You just have to try and pick yourself up and hopefully I can have a good week at the Masters. That gives me something to smile about at the moment. I can't wait for that."

Rahm had earlier made it three wins out of three with a comprehensive victory over Garcia, who suffered the embarrassment of topping his drive on the 13th into the water during a heavy downpour.

There were no such problems for five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who remained on course for his first win since the 2013 Open by beating Ryder Cup team-mate JB Holmes 6&5.

Mickelson had previously beaten Si Woo Kim 5&3 and Daniel Berger 5&4 in group 14, meaning he has yet to play any of the last three holes in competition this week.

Rafa Cabrera Bello was also eliminated in a three-way play-off alongside Charles Howell

"There's a good and a bad," the 46-year-old admitted. "I'm nervous that I haven't been in a match that has gone the last hole or two and feel that clutch pressure, but also the good is that I have been able to conserve energy heading into this weekend.

"That is going to be a real key with four potential matches. If you keep playing well, energy could be an issue."

Mickelson will face Marc Leishman in the last 16 after the Australian, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, came out on top in a three-man play-off in group three.

Leishman, Lee Westwood and Pat Perez all finished with a 2-1 record after Westwood's victory over Perez on Friday, with Leishman then making a birdie on the second extra hole to advance.

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen had already booked his place in the last 16 and will face William McGirt for a quarter-final berth after the American defeated England's Andy Sullivan to maintain his 100 per cent record.

Kevin Na defeated Matt Fitzpatrick with a birdie on the first extra hole to set up a meeting with Bill Haas, who holed a 40-yard pitch to stay alive in his play-off with KT Kim before winning on the sixth hole.

Two-time major winner Jordan Spieth joined Rory McIlroy in making an early exit after Japan's Hideto Tanihara defeated compatriot Yuta Ikeda to finish top of group five, with Paul Casey next in line for Tanihara after victory over Charl Schwartzel.

World number one Dustin Johnson, who is seeking a third straight tournament victory and a clean sweep of WGC events, defeated US PGA champion Jimmy Walker 5&3 to win group one.

And England's Ross Fisher edged past former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen in a play-off to set up a last-16 clash with two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson.

PA

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