Van Rooyen Eagles 18th Hole to Make Playoff, But Hatton Wins Turkish Airlines Open
November 11, 2019
ANTALYA, Turkey -- Erik Van Rooyen eagled the 18th hole at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal course on Sunday to shoot a 7-under-par 65 and get into a six-man playoff at the Turkish Airlines Open. But a wayward tee shot on the same hole roughly 40 minutes later led to a bogey and eliminated the former University of Minnesota star on the first extra hole. In the end -- and in the dark -- Tyrrell Hatton claimed the title with a par on the fourth extra hole.
Hatton needed a birdie at the 18th, a 558-yard par-5, to get into the playoff, and he two-putted from 45 feet to do it. That gave him a 67 for the final round, and a 72-hole total of 268 (20 under). Kurt Kitayama, Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert also earned their way into the playoff with birdies at No. 18, and Matthias Schwab let them into the playoff by making a par. Schwab had birdied 18 each of the first three days and led the tournament, basically, for the first 71 holes. Through 17 holes of the final round, he had missed only one fairway, but he missed the fairway at the 18th. He was still in a good position, just a couple of feet into the short rough, 243 yards from the pin. From there he hit a 3-iron. It came up a few yards short of the green, but he drew an ugly lie -- basically, in a hole. His chip shot came out hot and right, and he two-putted for a par and 70.
Of the six men who finished at 268, Kitayama had the best Sunday score, a 64. That matched Shubhankar Sharma for the best round of the day. Sharma ended up at 270, two out of the playoff and in a tie for seventh place, along with Robert MacIntyre, who closed with a 69.
The six-man playoff tied the record -- it's happened only three times on the European Tour -- but it also created logistical problems. For one thing, you can't have a sixsome. So there were two threesomes to begin the sudden-death extra session. On the first hole, No. 18 (18 was played four times in the playoff), Hatton wasn't even on the green in three, but he chipped in for a birdie to avoid elimination. Van Rooyen, who hit a perfect drive at 18 on his way to the 72nd-hole eagle, pulled his tee shot to start the playoff. He got an unlucky bounce, and the the ball nestled into the middle of a bush -- an utterly unplayable lie. (The bush was so thick and impenetrable that they couldn't even retrieve the ball from it.) After taking a penalty stroke, Van Rooyen hit his third shot from 40 yards behind the bush that had swallowed his original ball. He hit a pretty good wedge shot (his fourth) to 12 feet and missed the par putt. But by then it didn't matter, because Hatton was already in with a birdie.
Schwab's drive on the first playoff hole went left, on the same line as Van Rooyen's, but he got lucky. He stayed out of the bush and was able to punch out to 130 yards. His wedge shot from there used the slope of the green to get within 10 feet, and he made his putt for birdie. Kitayama hit a 347-yard drive and a 7-iron from there. His second shot trickled just over the green, barely into the rough, and he made a 4-footer for his birdie.
Perez and and Hebert both hit their drives into the trees to the right of the fairway. Both ended up with pars and, like Van Rooyen, were eliminated.
The three remaining contestants -- Hatton, Kitayama and Schwab -- all parred the second playoff hole. Hatton and Schwab made birdies on the third, but Kitayama, who just missed an 8-foot birdie putt that would have given him the victory on the second extra hole, could do no better than par on the third. So he was eliminated -- even though he played better than anyone else from tee to green down the stretch (he birdied three of the last four holes in regulation) and in the playoff.
When Hatton and Schwab played 18 again -- the fourth playoff hole -- Hatton singed the edge of the cup with an 8-foot birdie putt. The 28-year-old Englishman tends to feel really sorry for himself whenever he hits a good putt from inside 15 feet and it doesn't go in, and that was the case when he missed the putt on the fourth bonus hole. But Schwab, who was in an awkward position just over the green in two, hit his chip too hard and still wasn't on the green in three. (He hit that chip from close to where Hatton had missed the green with his chip on the first extra hole.) Schwab's putt from the fringe went 4 feet past the hole, and he missed the par putt coming back.
And just like that, Hatton was the winner -- with a par on a par 5. What were the odds on that? He was also $2 million (1,809,627 Euros) richer. It was the biggest prize ever awarded for a European Tour event.
Schwab, Van Rooyen and the other three playoff participants all tied for second, and they made 389,604 Euros each.
The playoff ended roughly 45 minutes after the sun had set. It was completed thanks to the floodlights that are part of the Maxx Royal course.
For most of the final round it appeared that Schwab, 24, was going to get his first victory on the European Tour. He started the day with a three-stroke lead over Hatton, Benjamin and Patrick Reed. (Reed closed with a 71 and tied for 10th at 272.) Schwab was still leading, at 20 under, after he two-putted for birdie at the par-5 13th. But his lead was down to a single stroke over Hebert, who was playing with him and also birdied the 13th. Hatton missed an 8-foot birdie putt at the 13th -- and was pretty bitter about it -- but he made a 20-footer for birdie at the par-3 14th (168 yards), which put him in a tie with Hebert at 19 under.
Up ahead, Kitayama had birdied No. 15 (398 yards, par 4) to get to 18 under. After a par at 16 (168, par 3), he birdied both the 392-yard, par-4 17th and the 18th to finish at 268 and take the lead in the clubhouse. Van Rooyen was the next to finish. The 29-year-old South African had gotten off to a fast start, with birdies at the par-5 first hole, the par-4 second and the par-5 fourth. A bogey at the fifth was a mere bump in the road as he followed it with birdies at the sixth and seventh holes. He started the back nine with a birdie at the 10th, gave one back with a bogey at the 11th and failed to birdie the par-5 13th, but he did birdie the par-3 14th. He was still two behind, at minus 18, and he missed birdie putts in the 20-to-30-foot range on each of the next three holes.
At the 18th, he hit a 307-yard drive, which left him 246 yards from the pin. He hit a 3-iron second shot that landed over the bunker in the rough just short of the green, and bounced forward, winding up 30 feet from the cup -- and then made the putt for a 3. Perez, playing with him, hit his drive 317 yards, and his 4-iron second left him with a 15-footer for eagle. He missed the putt to the left, but tapped in for a birdie and matched Van Rooyen's 65, thereby joining the ever-expanding group at 268.
Hatton and Hebert were playing with Schwab. Hatton hit a 220-yard 7-wood from the left rough that barely crawled onto the front of the green, setting up his two-putt birdie. Hebert had no chance of reaching the green in two, but he hit a wedge from 108 yards to within 10 feet and converted the birdie putt to reserve his spot in the playoff.
The only guy in the playoff who didn't at least birdie the 18th hole was Schwab. After chipping from the nasty lie that he drew in front of the green, the Austrian had a 20-foot birdie putt, but it never had a chance.
For Schwab, the good news is that this was his 10th top-10 finish of the 2018-19 European Tour season.
Although he didn't win, Van Rooyen bolstered his resume with his performance in Turkey. The winner of the 2012 Minnesota State Amateur, he never got the chance to defend that title because he turned pro in the spring of 2013, shortly after concluding his senior season with the Gophers. He didn't earn his first victory as a professional until 2016, when he won the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul. He was No. 636 in the Official World Golf Rankings at the end of that year, but he won on the European Challenge Tour in 2017, moved up 500 spots in the world rankings and gained full status for the European Tour.
He won for the first time on the Euro Tour this year, at the Scandinavian Invitational. He also cracked the top 100 in the OWGR this year. With his tie for second in Antalya, he moved up to No. 51. The biggest thing about the OWGR is that if you're in the top 50 at the end of the year, you get an invitation to the Masters. Van Rooyen is already qualified for each of the other three majors. He's finished in the top 20 in both of his appearances at the British Open, tying for 17th in 2018 and for 20th in 2019. His best finish at a major so far was a tie for eighth at the U.S. Open this year, and he tied for 43rd at the PGA in May.
There was a difference of $1.57 million between winning the playoff Sunday and finishing in the five-way tie for second. Nevertheless, the 389,604 Euros that Van Rooyen collected pushed his 2018-19 season total to 1,920,661 Euros, and he's No. 8 on the European Order of Merit/money list. The top 60 players from that list will play in the DP World Tour Championship in two weeks (Nov. 21-24) for a total purse of $8 million, and there's no cut. At the end of the tournament, a bonus pool of $3.75 million will be divided among the top 10 players on the money list.
Turkish Airlines Open
At The Montgomerie Maxx Royal
Final results (money won is shown in Euros)
1. Tyrrell Hatton 1 ,809,627 68-68-65-67--268 (won playoff on fourth extra hole)
T2. Erik Van Rooyen 389,604 70-67-66-65--268
T2. Matthias Schwab 389,604 65-67-66-70--268
T2. Kurt Kitayama 389,604 69-68-67-64--268
T2. Benjamin Hebert 389,604 67-70-64-67--268
T2. Victor Perez 389,604 68-69-66-65--268
T7. Robert MacIntyre 146,218 71-63-67-69--270
T7. Subhankar Sharma 146,218 71-64-71-64--270
9. Romain Langasque 112,740 70-66-70-65--271
T10. Ross Fisher 81,863 69-64-68-71--272
T10. Joachim Hansen 81,863 68-68-68-68--272
T10. Scott Jamieson 81,863 67-68-68-69--272
T10. Lee Westwood 81,863 71-65-68-68--272
T10. Patrick Reed 81,863 71-65-65-71--272
T10. Guido Migliozzi 81,863 72-67-68-65--272