Tyrrell Hatton set for BMW PGA Championship defence at his second home

The Englishman trounced the field by four shots last autumn at Wentworth, but he needs to address some form issues ahead of Thursday’s first round.

Those who saw Tyrrell Hatton turn a 54 hole lead into a four shot victory at last year's BMW PGA Championship don't really need to be told, but the 29-year-old Englishman is very content on the West Course at Wentworth.

"To be honest," he said ahead of his title defence this week. "I only live 25 minutes away.

"I've been lucky enough to play here numerous times when I've been back in the UK to the point where it almost feels a bit like a second home course.

"I feel pretty comfortable out there and hopefully I can have a good week."

Twelve months ago he opened with a 66 to claim a share of the first round lead, but then slipped one shot behind the halfway pace-setters Shane Lowry and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

A weekend tussle between the three seemed inevitable and yet, instead, Hatton travelled up the leaderboard while the other two passed him in the opposite direction: Hatton's Saturday 69 vaulted him three clear of the field; Lowry carded a 74, Fitzpatrick a 76.

On Sunday, a 67 left the Englishman four clear of the field.

If that's the good news, the less impressive tale is one about his form this summer which has yo-yoed.

He finished tied second in June Palmetto Championship, then missed the cut at the US Open.

He then landed a top 20 in the Scottish Open before missing another cut in the Open.

He followed that with a top 20 in the WGC St Jude, then missed yet another cut at The Northern Trust.

That ended his PGA Tour season and now he will hope to revive his game, not only in order to mount a sterling defence, but also in preparation for the Ryder Cup.

"I know my form's not been that great for the last sort of three or four months," he said. "Hopefully I can find something this week."

Hatton's numbers

In 2021: 16 strokeplay starts, three top six finishes, one win

2021 first round scoring average: 70.75

At Wentworth: seven starts, one win

Wentworth first round scoring average: 71.57

He might have shared the first round lead last year, but five of his seven Thursday scores have been 72+.

Here's what else he had to say.

On his Wentworth return

"It kind of feels surreal being back and being defending champion here. It's amazing to see the stands back and all the players this week, we're obviously looking forward to welcoming fans back and I'm sure they will create a great atmosphere for us to play in. The course is in great shape."

On winning four Rolex Series events

"I guess I've been lucky to play well during these big events. I certainly don't try and change my routine or anything like that. They have fallen on good weeks for me and obviously I'm very thankful for that."

On the prospect of wearing a hoodie again

"I'm scripted for polos and hoodies this week. So if the weather permits and I need to putt another layer on, then the hoodies will be back out."

On his Ryder Cup prospects

"It's something like I'm 99.99% in. So yeah, obviously not guaranteed but that doesn't change anything going into this week. There's a lot of points up for grabs and hopefully I can have a strong week."

On being pair with Viktor Hovland

Well, he's a fantastic player, isn't he? And he's certainly going to be a fantastic asset to Team Europe. Although he's classed as a rookie, he's more than proved himself to be a world-class player and I think that he will be more than comfortable on that stage. I think whoever you're selected to pair with, there will be reasons for that. Then it's a case of going out there and playing as well as you can."

READ MORE: Next step for FedEx Cup hero Patrick Cantlay: a first Major title

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