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Sunday, 07 October 2018
Tyrell Hatton  (Getty Images)
Tyrell Hatton (Getty Images)

Tyrrell Hatton overcame wild and windy conditions on the Old Course at St Andrews to put himself in pole position to claim a third consecutive Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title.

The Englishman entered the final day one stroke ahead as he looked to become the first player in 11 years to win the same European Tour event in three consecutive seasons.

An opening nine of 32 at the Home of Golf moved him to 18 under, into a four-shot lead and onto the brink of joining a very exclusive club.

Tiger Woods was the last player to win the same European Tour event in three consecutive years 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 Nick Faldo is the only Englishman to have previously done so at the Irish Open between 1991 and 1993.

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard was Hatton's nearest challenger, a shot clear of England's Tommy Fleetwood, Australian Marcus Fraser, 2004 champion Stephen Gallacher and American Brooks Koepka.

Every player went off between 08:30 and 08:40 in a shotgun start due to high winds expected later, with the leading two groups overnight going off the first.

Fleetwood made the first move with a birdie from 18 feet on the second, while Bjerregarrd birdied his first hole after starting on the 18th to get within three.

He was soon joined there by Koepka who - after starting on the 17th - birdied the 18th and first.

Playing partners Hatton and Gallacher then both birdied the third before a Fleetwood birdie on the fourth kept him within two. He was not there for long, however, as the defending champion holed a 20-footer on the fourth to extend his lead to three.

Koepka made it three birdies in a row from ten feet on the second to get within four and he was joined there by Bjerregaard who holed a long putt on the fourth.

All three members of the leading group then took advantage of the par five fifth after getting on the green in two, with Fraser's first birdie of the day keeping Hatton's lead at three and Gallacher moving alongside Fleetwood.

Hatton was as relentless as the pouring rain and an approach to eight feet on the sixth gave him a fourth birdie in a row and a four-shot lead.

An 18-foot putt from Bjerregaard on the sixth moved him into the group in third and that became second when Fraser three-putted the eighth and the lead was extended to five.

Another long putt from Bjerregaard on the eighth then moved him into solo second, with Koepka hitting a stunning approach into the sixth to replace him in the group in third.

Andrea Pavan and Tapio Pulkkannen were 11 under, a shot clear of Matthieu Pavon and Matthias Schwab.

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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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