It was the joy of six for Tyrrell Hatton in the Turkish Airlines Open as the Englishman beat five rivals in the biggest play-off on the European Tour in 16 years to claim victory at Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek.
Hatton prevailed at the fourth extra hole over Austrian Matthias Schwab after American Kurt Kitayama bowed out a hole earlier following first-hole exits for Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez, his compatriot Benjamin Hebert and South African Erik Van Rooyen.
The victory in the Rolex Series event saw Hatton, a double Alfred Dunhill Links champion, pick up a whopping cheque for £1.57 million for his fourth European Tour triumph while the others all had to settle for £337,000.
“It’s so surreal,” admitted Hatton, who has needed painkillers to get through every round for the last five months due to a wrist injury that has been affecting him since the 2017 Masters “I actually can’t believe that I’ve won. It’s been quite a difficult year in terms of things happening off course, but the last month I feel like I really found my game again.
“I said to a few people on my team that if I was lucky enough to win again, then I would definitely savor the moment, because I think it’s quite easy to take it for granted.
“Sport’s great when it’s going well, but when it’s not going well, it kind of hits home, so I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Paying tribute to his Scottish caddie Mick Donaghy, he added: “It’s amazing to have him on the bag and he’s done a great job this week. I’m just so happy.”
It was just the third time in European Tour history that an event was decided by a six-man play-off. Scotland’s Stephen McAllister triumphed in the Atlantic Open in Portugal in 1990 while, 13 years later in South Africa, Paul Lawrie was one of the players involved as Englishman Mark Foster came out on top in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
This one earned a place in the record books for another reason as it was the first play-off on the European Tour to be decided under the floodlights, which went on after the second extra hole ended without a conclusion just after 5.30pm local time.
Hatton, who signed off with a 67 as the sextet all finished with 20-under-par 268 totals, chipped in for a birdie to stay alive as they played the 18th again first time around before the trio left standing then all agonisingly missed birdie attempts on the next trip up the par-5, with Katayama being unable to convert the best of those chances from eight feet.
The American, who was bidding for a third win this season, then dropped out at the next as his two rivals made birdies before a par proved good enough for Hatton at the fourth attempt to get an outcome as Schwab missed from five feet.
Earlier, in a dramatic finish to the Rolex Series event, Van Rooyen had holed a huge eagle putt at the last to finish on 20-under before Perez, who was bidding to follow up his breakthrough victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last month, was unable to match that feat from much closer in the same group.
That left Schwab, who’d been out in front from day one, needing a birdie at the last to break the logjam, but a bunkered approach left him having to settle for a 5 and, ultimately, leaving him still seeking his breakthrough victory.