A furious Ian Poulter remained in contention for a first victory in five years despite a costly incident on day three of the British Masters.
Poulter recovered from an early double bogey at Close House to card a 68 and finish in a five-way tie for second on 11 under, a shot behind Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.
The former Ryder Cup star found the water with his tee shot on the par-3 fifth after being distracted by spectators taking pictures on their phones and was still seething hours later.
“What are we doing?” an irate Poulter said. “We’ve allowed them all to take pictures and videos and tell them to put them on silent, and it doesn’t work does it? You get distracted on the wrong hole at the wrong time and it’s extremely penal and it’s really f—ing annoying.”
Asked if mobile phones should be banned — as they are at Augusta National for the Masters — Poulter added: “No, I just think people need to educate themselves and understand it’s an issue for us and them.
“They don’t realise they distract us as much as they do. Ninety-nine percent of them are on silent and unfortunately there’s a couple which are not. You’re not expecting it because you think they’ve got it on silent.
“I’m angry and am going to continue to be angry until I wake up tomorrow morning. Throwing shots away for no reason is really annoying.”
Hatton held a three-shot lead at halfway, but could only card a 71 after two bogeys in the last four holes, while tournament host Lee Westwood dropped three shots in the last six holes — his first bogeys all week — to fall three off the pace.
However, there was better news for late entry Rory McIlroy, who admitted his competitive juices were flowing again after a superb 64 took him to within two shots of the lead alongside Shane Lowry, Chris Hanson, George Coetzee and David Lingmerth.