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Saturday, 06 October 2018
Day 3 Highlights - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Tyrrell Hatton put himself on the brink of European Tour history as he opened up a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

A win on Sunday over the Old Course at St Andrews would give him a third consecutive victory at the event and membership of a very exclusive club.

Tiger Woods was the last player to win three European Tour events in a row between 2005 and 2007 when he completed a hat-trick of both the WGC-Championship and the WGC-Invitational.

Ernie Els was the last man to do it in a regular event as he won the Heineken Classic every year between 2002 and 2004, while Sir Nick Faldo is the only Englishman to have previously achieved the feat the Irish Open between 1991 and 1993.

Hatton's 66 over the Old Course on Saturday got him to 14 under and meant he had shot nine rounds in the 60s at this event since day one of his first victory in 2016 at a total of 61 under par.

Australian Marcus Fraser was his nearest challenger after a 67 at Kingsbarns Golf Links, with former winner Stephen Gallacher and reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood at 11 under after both playing the Home of Golf in round three.

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard and Italian Andrea Pavan were four shots off the lead after firing rounds of 69 at the Championship Course Carnoustie.

“I'm certainly going to go out there tomorrow and give it my best,” said Hatton. “To join that club would be so special.

“It was nice to shoot a decent score. Front nine, although I was five under, felt quite difficult. It was pretty cold this morning and I was struggling to warm up. I hit a few loose shots, got away with a couple, which was nice, and then holed a couple of putts. Felt like I could have scored better on the back nine but hit a few loose shots again.

“We're in a good position going into the final day and that's all we can ask for.”

Hatton birdied the second to join the overnight leaders and when he eagled the par five fifth he was two ahead of the pack. Another eagle at the par four ninth after driving the green meant he led by three at the turn but countryman Fleetwood was making a big move of his own.

The 27 year old started with three birdies and he made another from five feet at the fifth to move into a share of second.

Hatton made a bogey at the 12th and Fleetwood holed a monster putt on the eighth to cut to one but Hatton then put an approach at the 13th to five feet and holed a long putt on the next to bounce back.

Fleetwood would not be shaken off, however, and he holed from 15 feet on the tenth and then played a wonderful chip on the 12th to sit one behind.

Scot Gallacher - the 2004 champion - had been quietly going about his business, making birdies on the tenth, 12th and 16th to turn in 33. He made further gains on the sixth and seventh and when he drove the ninth and got down in two for birdie, he held the clubhouse lead.

That was just two back when Hatton missed the green on the 17th and failed to get up and down but he drove the last for a closing birdie to get to 14 under and lead by one from Fleetwood.

The four-time European Tour winner then stumbled, three-putting the 16th, 17th and 18th to drop two shots and sit alongside Gallacher.

Fraser birdied two of his last three holes for the third day in a row and is also in need of a big finish to his season at 175th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

After bogeying the second he got back on track with gains on the third, ninth, 12th and 15th before hitting a brilliant second into the 17th and holing from over 80 feet on the last.

Bjerregaard recovered from a double-bogey on the fifth with six birdies and three bogeys, while Pavan made an eagle and a birdie to go with two dropped shots.

Finn Tapio Pulkkanen fired a brilliant 64 at Carnoustie to sit at nine under alongside reigning US Open and US PGA Champion Brooks Koepka, Italian Edoardo Molinari, Austrian Matthias Schwab and South African Brandon Stone.

In the team event, Nacho Elvira and John Van Wyk, and Li Haotong and Allen Zhang shared a one-shot lead at 24 under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BJERREGAARD, LucasDEN18-15
T2FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-14
T2HATTON, TyrrellENG18-14
4PULKKANEN, TapioFIN18-12
T5LI, HaotongCHN18-10
T5PAVAN, AndreaITA18-10

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