Hatton and Coetzee lead British Masters

European Tour

A strong finish from Tyrrell Hatton saw the Englishman join George Coetzee at the top of the British Masters leaderboard at the end of day one.

South African Coetzee held the clubhouse lead for much of the day after posting an excellent seven-under-par 63 in front of packed crowds at Close House Golf Club in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

He looked set to hold the sole lead at the end of the first round before Hatton's heroics came late in the day. 

After a somewhat sedate start, the 25-year-old birdied five of his last seven holes to snatch a share of the lead.

"It was a really good day," he said. "I played lovely out there and gave myself plenty of chances, managed to convert a few at the end.

"Hopefully I can keep the form going with my swing and post another good number.

"I hit a lot of good iron shots today and it's nice to feel comfortable in my swing again. Obviously I had a really bad summer, which is frustrating, but you're going to go through these phases. Golf's hard and I'm happy with where I'm at now."

The duo are one shot clear of five others – Alvaro Quiros, Chris Hanson, Mikko Ilonen, Mikko Korhonen and Rikard Karlberg.

A further shot behind are Johan Carlsson, Lee Slattery, Joel Stalter, Ashley Chesters and Graeme Storm.

The highest profile player in the field, Rory McIlroy, opened with a solid three-under-par 67 to lie just four shots off the pace.