Hatton takes control at Close House

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton opened up a three-shot lead after Friday’s second round of the British Masters.

Hatton wasn’t the only Englishman to excel on the day, with seven of the top nine on the leaderboard being occupied by local players.

He was the best performing, however, posting a five-under-par 65 to go with his opening 63 for a twelve-under-par total at the halfway stage.

That was three strokes clear of five others, Swede Robert Karlsson and English quarter Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Chris Hanson and Ashley Chesters.

Westwood and Poulter thrilled the throngs at Close House Golf Club with a pair of 65s to lift themselves into contention.

Lying in a tie for seventh, a further shot back, were two more locals – Graeme Storm and Lee Slattery, as well as Mikko Ilonen.

Rory McIlroy lies eight shots back at four under par heading into the weekend.

Hatton didn’t come into this week with much consistency, having made just three of 10 cuts, but did manage a top-three finish at the Omega European Masters and seems to be finding his form at the right time – particularly with the defence of his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title looming next week as well.

He was already three under for the day after his first four holes, and then added three more birdies and a bogey for the remainder of his round to create some distance between himself and the rest of the field.

His round was even more impressive as it came in the morning, when conditions were tougher in the rain.

“Conditions weren’t easy this morning, obviously, with the rain coming down,” he said. “It made it quite difficult. I’m happy with my morning’s work.

“I feel like I’ve been sort of laughing a bit more, a bit more relaxed. I certainly think he’s helped me do that. But I think playing better certainly helps as well. So we had a good result in Switzerland and hopefully we can have another good one here.”