ORLANDO, Fla. – With his name atop the leaderboard just across the water at Bay Hill’s par-4 18th hole, Tyrrell Hatton stood over a 30-foot downhill birdie putt. With a slight stroke, Hatton sent his ball racing toward the hole.
“I think even though I tapped that putt, it was probably going about 8 feet past,” Hatton said. “It was scary how quick that thing was.”
When the putt dropped, Hatton raised his fist in the air as if he had won the tournament.
One problem: It was only Saturday.
“I don't normally fist pump on a Saturday,” said Hatton, whose 1-over 73 earned him a two-shot lead after 54 holes. “I think it was more shock that the ball actually went in the hole and very relieved.”
The 458-yard finishing hole was the toughest on the course Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, playing into a 20-mph wind, forcing 12 double bogeys or worse and yielded just three birdies.
Hatton’s, of course, was one of them, and it gave him a nice cushion entering Sunday, which figures to produce more of the same tough scoring conditions.
“There are doubles and triples just around the corner, so that two-shot lead can go extremely quickly,” Hatton said. “Just got to see what happens. Eighteen holes is a lot of golf, and I'm sure it will be interesting to watch.”