KINGSBARNS, United Kingdom: England’s Tyrrell Hatton became the first player to successfully defend the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as he shot a final-round 66 at St Andrews to retain the title on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Hatton, who turns 26 next Saturday, did not drop a shot over his last 54 holes, a blistering run that gave him a second career Tour title and will lift him to 22nd in the world rankings.
“It is an unbelievable feeling as this week was the first time I had ever defended a title, so it felt like it was a lot harder winning this year than it was last year,” he said.
“I’m so happy that I managed to get over the line.
“I know one thing also that this is one big, heavy trophy. My left arm is going to be sore tomorrow.”
Hatton finished 24 under par overall to win by three strokes from record-breaker Ross Fisher.
England’s Fisher produced a new Old Course record of an 11-under par 61 to finish in second place at 21-under par.
He was staring at the first-ever score of 59 on the European Tour when he sent his drive just short of the green at the last.
But, needing to hole his eagle putt for the 59, Fisher left his second a few feet short of the hole.
He birdied all but two of his outward nine holes and then managed four birdies in succession from the 12th over his inward half.
“I’m gutted I missed that one on the last but it’s just one of those days as I felt like I was playing alright but I’m not going to complain too much with a 61,” Fisher said.
Frenchman Victor Dubuisson stormed his way to third place in recording a 63 for 17-under par and his best finish in 11 months since tying for third at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.
The 27-year-old capped his round with seven outward-half birdies.
“It was very special because it was at the end of my season, and I played amazingly like the rest of the week but today it feels like all the putts went in,” he said.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood continues to lead the Race to Dubai, after recording a last-day 69 for a 10-under par tally and a share of 25th place.
And four-time major winner Rory McIlroy ended his first winless season since 2008 with a closing 72 for a distant share of 63rd place.
McIlroy will now take three months off before returning to competition in mid-January.
“My last round of 2017 sort of summed up all of 2017,” he said.
“Not much happening, good or bad. Just sort of stuck in neutral. Yeah, hasn’t been the year I wanted on the golf course.”