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Kang, Hatton share halfway lead at Bay Hill

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Miami: Tyrrell Hatton kept his return from wrist surgery right on course on Friday, firing a three-under par 69 to share the halfway lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational with South Korea’s Kang Sung.


England’s Hatton, playing just his second tournament since right wrist surgery in November, notched his sixth straight round in the 60s and was tied with Kang on seven-under par 137.


Kang, who relished the chilly winds whipping across the Bay Hill course in Orlando, Florida, fired a four-under par 68.


The leading duo were one stroke in front of New Zealand’s Danny Lee, whose four-under 67 was the round of the day.


World number one Rory McIlroy settled for a one-over 73 and headed a trio of players on 139 along with South Korean Im Sung-jae (69) and Harris English (70).


Hatton said his return tournament, the WGC Mexico Championship, was an ideal comeback event since it guaranteed him four rounds.


“That was interesting to see how my wrist kind of reacted to a full week’s tournament golf, and it was absolutely fine,” said Hatton, who tied for sixth at Chapultepec. “No pain out on the golf course, which is important. And I’ve been able to practice how I want to practice before coming here, and my swing’s generally been in an all right place’’.


Hatton fired five birdies in his three-under round, hitting seven of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation.


“I hit it in some interesting spots,” he said. “It’s not easy with how strong the wind is’’.


Hatton, who teed off on 10, was two-under through his first nine after three birdies and a bogey, but said he “lost” his swing coming in.


“I just didn’t have a clue where it was going,” admitted Hatton, “I was struggling with hitting it quite far left.


“I’m just happy to get in the clubhouse with kind of no damage done,” added Hatton, who bounced back from a bogey at the third with a birdie from off the green at the fourth and a 13-foot birdie at the eighth, his penultimate hole.


Kang had six birdies and two bogeys in his four-under effort. “I drove it great and then putted really nicely,” said the South Korean, who is seeking a second US PGA Tour title to go with his victory at the 2019 Byron Nelson. — AFP


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