Hatton, Ancer, Simpson and Palmer share PGA Heritage lead

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Britain’s Tyrrell Hatton closed with a 24-foot birdie putt yesterday to finish among four co-leaders after the third round of the US PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament.

Mexico’s Abraham Ancer and Americans Webb Simpson and Ryan Palmer shared the lead entering the final round of the tour’s second event after a three-month coronavirus hiatus.

Hatton fired a bogey-free eight-under par 63 to stand on 15-under 198 after 54 holes at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Hatton said he hadn’t felt comfortable over the layout but breezed through yesterday.

“I’ve been lucky with where some of my misses ended up and I’ve really putted well, which is a big surprise,” Hatton said. “Hopefully I feel comfortable tomorrow and hit some good shots.”

The 28-year-old Englishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March at Bay Hill in the last completed event before the tour’s three-month coronavirus shutdown began.

Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot on the first hole during the third round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. PHOTO: AFP

Hatton birdied four of the first five holes, opening with a 40-foot birdie putt and two-putting from 35 feet for another birdie at the par-5 second.

He made a 10-foot birdie putt at the fourth, a 12-footer to birdie the par-5 fifth and closed the front nine with a seven-foot birdie putt.

Hatton, a four-time winner on the European Tour, sizzled with the putter on the back nine as well, holing birdie putts from 13 feet at the par-3 14th and 10 feet at the par-4 16th before his dramatic close.

Ancer shot 65, starting with birdies on three of the first five holes, all from four feet or less. He began the back nine with a three-foot birdie putt and followed a 15-foot birdie putt at 13 with his lone bogey at the par-3 14th after missing the green. He answered with birdies at 15 and 16.

“Feel like I’m not making anything,” Ancer said. “I made maybe two putts outside four feet. I’m hitting the ball really well. I need a lot of patience, do the same thing, and hopefully they all fall in tomorrow.”

Palmer, sharing the lead entering the last round for the first time since 2011, shot 66 with five birdies from inside seven feet and a 16-footer at the 10th. His lone bogey came at the third when he found a greenside bunker and missed a six-foot par putt.

“I hit it pretty well,” Palmer said. “Overall, I’m excited. I still haven’t played my best round 1-18. Maybe tomorrow will be the day.”