Sunday, 08 October 2017
Day Four Highlights - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Tyrrell Hatton became the first man to successfully defend the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as he held off the charge of Ross Fisher, who broke the Old Course record on a historic day at St Andrews.

Hatton entered the day with a five-shot lead and extended his bogey-free run to 55 holes as he got to 24 under and finished three shots ahead of fellow Englishman Fisher.

The 2010 Ryder Cup player made 11 birdies in a stunning 61 that is the lowest of over 13,300 professional rounds at the Old Course as both men entered the history books on an unforgettable afternoon.

Fisher's 11 under par effort was the second time an Open Championship venue saw its course record broken during the week after Tommy Fleetwood fired a 63 at Carnoustie on Friday.

It is Hatton who will be taking home the trophy, though, after rounds of 68-65-65-66 gave him his second European Tour title and he became just the fourth man after Curtis Strange, Trevor Immelman and Thongchai Jaidee to successfully defend a trophy for his first two wins.

He also becomes just the second player to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship twice after Padraig Harrington and has completed a remarkable return to form after making just two of nine cuts between the Masters Tournament and US PGA Championship.

"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.

Hatton spun his second shot of the day into the Swilcan Burn but chipped in for par and birdied the second and third after nice approaches before holing a six-footer on the fourth and a tap-in on the par five fifth for a seven-shot lead.

Fisher made four birdies in a row from the second, rolled in a huge putt on the seventh, a 15-footer on the eighth and took advantage of the short ninth to turn in 29 but when Hatton birdied the same hole, he led by six with nine to play.

More smart approach play brought Fisher birdies on the 12th and 13th and when he took advantage of the par five 14th and holed a ten-footer on the next, there was talk of a first European Tour 59 in the galleries.

Hatton also took advantage of the 14th to keep Fisher at arm's length but the five-time European Tour winner did well to save par on the 17th and left himself an eagle putt out of the Valley of Sin for that 59.

He ended up three-putting for par but that could not take the gloss off a brilliant performance by both men north east of Edinburgh.

"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."

Dubuisson joined Fisher in turning in 29 with birdies on the second and third and five in a row from the fifth, and when he also made gains on the 11th, 14th and 15th, he was on the brink of history.

A bogey on the 16th halted that but he still achieved his best result of a season where this was just his sixth appearance on a Sunday.

Countryman Grégory Bourdy, England's Robert Rock and Scot Marc Warren were then ten shots behind the winner, with English trio Luke Donald, Oliver Fisher and Eddie Pepperell, Ireland's Paul Dunne and Frenchman Alexander Levy at 13 under.

Jamie Donaldson and Kieran McManus combined for a closing 56 to get to 40 under and win the team event by three shots.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HATTON, TyrrellENG18-24
2FISHER, RossENG18-21
3DUBUISSON, VictorFRA18-17
T4WARREN, MarcSCO18-14
T4ROCK, RobertENG18-14
T4BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-14

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