England’s Tyrrell Hatton successfully defended the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St Andrews, holding off the challenge of a charging Ross Fisher.
Tyrrell Hatton fired a closing 66 to finish four rounds in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on 24-under-par, three clear of his fellow Englishman Ross Fisher who closed with a stunning, course-record 61 over the Old Course at St Andrews.
Hatton began the final round with a five-shot lead after rounds of 68, 65 and 65 over St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. It looked like his advantage over the field was set to reduce early on as he spun his second shot to the 1st back into the Swilcan Burn. But Hatton took a drop and then holed his pitch for a par-four.
The defending champion then went on a run, making four birdies in a row to extend his lead to seven.
Ross Fisher also birdied four straight holes from the second and he added further gains on the 8th and 9th holes to turn in 29. When he birdied the 12th, 13th and 14th holes, it looked as though a first European Tour 59 could be on.
Fisher did well to save par on the 17th and was left needing an eagle on the final hole for that 59. He had a chance from the Valley of Sin but missed and also missed the birdie putt. Still, he carded for a 61 – the best professional score ever recorded over the Old Course.
Hatton did well to keep the pressure on with a birdie at the 14th and he parred his way in to claim his second straight Alfred Dunhill Links title.
Frenchman Victor Dubuisson played an excellent final round of 63 to end the week in third place, with Gregory Bourdy, Robert Rock and Marc Warren tied for fourth.
3 Talking points from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
1 – Tyrrell Hatton is the first man to successfully defend the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title. He is only the second man to win the event twice, after Padraig Harrington. He is only the fourth player on the European Tour to defend a title for his first two wins – Curtis Strange, Trevor Immelman and Thongchai Jaidee are the others.
Tyrrell Hatton swing sequence:
2 – Ross Fisher’s 61 was the second course record over an Open course during the tournament – Tommy Fleetwood carded a 63 at Carnoustie on Friday. This was the second year in a row Ross Fisher has finished second in this tournament and he was pleased with his showing.
“To go out and shoot a score like that with no bogeys, I just saw the lines and was hitting good putts and they were going in,” said Fisher. “You almost want to keep going and I didn’t want it to end. At the home of golf, I wanted to try and give that putt on the last a try for 59 and just came up a bit shy. Unfortunately I’ve got to sign for a 61 but I’ll definitely take it! I just wanted to come out here and put in a good performance and, if I could, try and repeat last year finishing tied second. Unfortunately, Tyrrell was too far ahead. I managed to give him a little bit to think about coming down the stretch.”
3 – Jamie Donaldson and Kieran McManus won the pro-am element of the tournament. They closed with an amazing 56 to finish on 40-under-par, three clear of Robert Rock and Brian McFadden, Victor Dubuisson and Shanten Narayen and Yikeun Chang and Erwee Botha.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns
Purse: €4,250,000 Par: 72
1 Tyrell Hatton (Eng) 68 65 65 66 264 €676,132
2 Ross Fisher (Eng) 71 68 67 61 267 €450,752
3 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 74 66 68 63 271 €253,955
T4 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 70 67 66 71 274 €172,278
T4 Robert Rock (Eng) 71 68 69 66 274 €172,278
T4 Marc Warren (Sco) 70 71 67 66 274 €172,278
T7 Luke Donald (Eng) 70 70 66 69 275 €93,955
T7 Paul Dunne (Irl) 67 68 70 70 275 €93,955
T7 Oliver Fisher (Eng) 68 71 71 65 275 €93,955
T7 Alexander Levy (Fra) 70 69 68 68 275 €93,955
T7 Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 72 69 69 65 275 €93,955
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage