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Golf: Britain's Hatton aims to build on breakout year at Augusta

FILE PHOTO: Nov 6, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Tyrrell Hatton drives off the ninth tee during the second round of the Houston Open golf tournament at Memorial Park Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Briton Tyrrell Hatton is ready to put his past frustrations behind him at Augusta this week, as he kicks off his latest Masters effort at the very top of his game.

With five top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour since it returned from the COVID-19 hiatus in June, as well as a maiden PGA title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, Hatton achieved a career-high world number-nine ranking after winning the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour last month.

Speaking to reporters at Augusta on Tuesday, Hatton said his “very special year” after coming back from wrist surgery in late 2019 is giving him extra confidence for a tournament where he has failed to crack the top 40 in his three previous attempts.

“Coming into a major, this is the best form that I’ve had,” said Hatton. “Obviously it’s a place that I haven’t actually done too well at in the past, although I do like the golf course. Just kind of the week hasn’t fallen right for me. You know, excited to see how I can get on this week.”

For Hatton, Augusta National has been a clear hurdle, with the Masters the only golf major where he has failed to achieve a top 10 finish. Having a “milestone” PGA Tour win under his belt, however, could make the difference for Hatton, who’s eager to improve on last year’s four-over-par finish tied for 56th.

“If you play well you’re going to give yourself chances and going into Sunday, if I have a chance to win a tournament, I obviously take confidence from the fact that I’ve been able to get over the line before, and it’s not a new feeling for me or a new experience,” said the 29-year-old Englishman.

“I think every player takes confidence from that, knowing that they have won in the past.”

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris

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