Lucas Bjerregaard surged into the top ten of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai after carding a brilliant final round of 67 on the Old Course at St Andrews to thwart Tyrrell Hatton winning for the third consecutive year at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
The Dane, whose last win on Tour came at the 2017 Portugal Masters, started the final round four shots behind Hatton but four birdies on his opening nine holes put him in the mix at the ‘Home of Golf’. Bjerregaard picked up two more shots at the 13th and 16th before bogeying the last to leave him just one ahead of Hatton with the Englishman still to play his final hole.
Hatton narrowly missed his birdie putt to take the tournament to extra holes meaning Bjerregaard got his hands on the biggest trophy of his professional career. With the triumph, the 27 year old jumps from 25th to tenth on the Race to Dubai Rankings with a season tally of 1,927,174 points.
“It’s been a great season for the Danish on the European Tour in 2018 with Thorbjørn Olesen claiming a maiden Rolex Series title at the Italian Open, Thomas Bjørn spearheading Team Europe at The Ryder Cup and now Lucas sealing the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, “said Nick Tarratt, Director, European Tour International Dubai Office. “Lucas is on a steady rise up the Rankings and it will be interesting to see where he finishes at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates.”
Bjerregaard, who narrowly lost out to Matthew Fitzpatrick in a play-off at the OMEGA European Masters, was delighted to be back in the winner’s circle.
“It was a great day, it’s obviously one of the best rounds I've played all year,” he said. “I’ve played well recently and I've come close a few times, lost in a play-off in Switzerland, which obviously hurt. It's really nice to sit here right now and I'm going to enjoy this one, no doubt.”
Hatton looked certain to join Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els with wins in the same event in three consecutive seasons after making the turn in 32 but a back nine of 40 cost him the title as he settled for second place with Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood.
“I’ve got to take the positives from today, obviously finishing second is a good effort,” said Ryder Cup star Hatton. “I tried my best to win it again but it wasn’t meant to be. It would have been pretty special to have three in a row.”
Hatton moves from ninth to seventh in the Rankings on 2,309,723 points whilst Fleetwood jumps from third to second on 3,221,947 points for the season.
Meanwhile, Challenge Tour graduate Tapio Pulkkanen took a huge step to retaining his European Tour card for next season and edged closer to the elusive Race to Dubai top 60 after finishing tied for fourth in Scotland. The Finn picks up 240,000 Race to Dubai points which sees him leapfrog from 156th to 86th in the Rankings on 422,506 points.
With only six tournaments to go on the Race to Dubai calendar, Italy’s Francesco Molinari leads the way with 4,635,909 points, whilst USA’s Patrick Reed completes the top three, following Fleetwood, on 1,927,174 points.
The DP World Tour Championship takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 November.