05:18PM, Monday 09 October 2017
MARLOW’S Tyrrell Hatton became the first man in history to successfully defend the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, after holding off the late charge of Ascot’s Ross Fisher at St Andrews on Sunday.
The Harleyford Golf Club member entered the final day’s play with a five-shot lead and extended his bogey-free run to 55 holes – the longest stretch of anyone at an event in 2017 – to finish three shots clear of the field.
Fisher made 11 birdies in a stunning round of 61, the lowest of more than 13,300 professional rounds at the Old Course, but it wasn’t enough to reel in Hatton.
It was Hatton who was the more consistent golfer over the four days, carding rounds of 68-65-65-66 to give him his second European Tour title.
He and Padraig Harrington are now the only two golfers to have won the Dunhill Links event twice.
It caps a remarkable return to form for the Marlow man after he made just two of the nine cuts between the Masters Tournament in Augusta and the US PGA Championship.
Last week he was also looking in contention for the British Masters title at Close House near Newcastle, but let slip a three shot lead at the halfway stage to finish tied for eighth place.
"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."
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