Hatton wins at St Andrews during historic Dunhill


Tyrrell Hatton became the first man to successfully defend at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, winning his second European Tour title – exactly a year after he won his first. 

The Englishman held off a strong charge from Ross Fisher, who broke Hatton’s course record on The Old Course on Sunday with an impressive 11-under-par 61 – but he was not the only one to break a record this week. 

Just two days earlier compatriot Tommy Fleetwood broke the course record at Carnoustie when he shot a 63 on Friday – and ended the tournament in a tie for 25th place at 10 under par. 

Yet it was Hatton who commanded the field, holding a five shot lead heading in to the final day of the tournament and ending the day three shots clear of Fisher to win his second European Tour title.

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It looked to be a rocky start for Hatton as he put his approach shot in to the Swilken burn at the very first hole, but a chip in for par was to start him off with a run of momentum as he went on to make four consecutive birdies.

His fifth birdie on the ninth hole saw him make the turn in 31, and as Fisher and Victor Dubuisson both looked to be chasing down attempts at a 59 and closing down his lead, Hatton held his composure and picked up one more birdie on the 14th to extend his lead. 

Fisher left himself an eagle putt from just off the green on the 18th hole for the elusive 59 and to go just one behind Hatton, but he was only able to walk off with a par – and a course record to boot. 

For Hatton, a tap-in par at the last was more than enough to get back in to the winner’s circle. 

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “It felt so much harder than last year, maybe that’s just a bit more pressure on myself but I’m so happy that I managed to defend it and what a great week again.

“I think the format is helping me, playing with Jamie (Dornan) we have good fun out there and it sort of keeps me relaxed which is what I need to do. We’ve just had good fun, I think that is what this tournament is about.

“I didn’t see a leaderboard until the 16th green and I saw he was on 21 and that certainly made the 17th tee-shot seem a bit harder.

“What a great round of golf from Fish, it’s amazing. He pushed me all the way and I was very happy to get over the line.”

For Fisher, it is the second year in a row he has finished second at this event and he was four shots clear of Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who carded a 63.

It was also a three shot lead for the winning team of Kieran Mcmanus & Jamie Donaldson, who shot 40-under-par through the 4 days of competition.

Rory McIlroy focused on 2018

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy ended his final tournament of the season with a level-par round of 72 – and despite a difficult and frustrating year, he seemed positive about taking a break ahead of 2018. 

“I started the year with grabbed ambitions trying to add to my major tally and trying to win golf tournaments and get back up near the top of the World Rankings. I obviously have not been able to do that.

“I feel like I can still salvage something from the rest of the year. Even though I’m not playing [how I want to], I’ve given myself a lot of opportunities to put a lot of good foundations in place going forward. That’s what I’m going to concentrate on from now until the end of the year.”

Rory Mcilroy dunhill

“I’m definitely a better player I feel than the player that won some of those tournaments and some of those majors,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I’m a much better player now than I was in 2010 and 2012 when I was able to win a couple of majors.

“I see no reason why I can’t better that in the next 10 years and that’s why I feel like these three months are very important for me; to put some really good things in place and step away and just reassess everything and where I’m at and where I need to be.”

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