Hatton Retains Dunhill Title, Fisher Record 61 At Old Course

Tyrrell Hatton

England’s Tyrrell Hatton Tees Off On The Fifth Hole, During Day Four Of The 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. (Mark Runnacles/PA via AP)

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Tyrrell Hatton retained his title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after a final round at St. Andrews in which Ross Fisher shot a course-record 61 at the home of golf.

On a calm day on the storied Old Course, even a bogey-free round by Fisher containing 11 birdies could not reel in overnight leader Hatton, who shot 6-under 66 for a three-stroke victory over his fellow Englishman.

Hatton became the first player in the 17-year history of the Dunhill Links to successfully defend the title in a tournament played over three Scottish courses — the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. His aggregate score of 24-under 264 was a tournament record, after rounds of 68-65-65-66.

Both of Hatton’s career titles have come at the Dunhill Links, having won with a score of 23 under par in 2016.

Fisher — the runner-up for a second straight year — had a putt for eagle from the Valley of Sin on No. 18, which would have sealed the first round of 59 in the history of the European Tour. It fell two feet short and he missed the birdie putt back, though still broke the course record — held jointly by six players — by a stroke.

Fisher birdied four holes in a row from No. 2, then Nos. 7, 8 and 9 for a front nine of 29. A burst of four straight birdies from No. 12 then helped Fisher reduce Hatton’s lead to three strokes, down from a margin of six at the turn.

“They started taking all the stuff off the leaderboards so I didn’t see a leaderboard until the 16th green and saw he was on 21 (under),” Hatton said. “That made the 17th tee shot a lot harder.”

Still, Hatton found the fairway with his drive on the notoriously tough Road Hole and even sailed his approach near to the flag on the narrow green. A par at No. 17 meant he could enjoy arguably the most famous walk in golf, over the Swilcan Bridge and down the 18th fairway.

Victor Dubuisson was 10 under after 15 holes and also on course to break the course record, before a bogey at No. 16 slowed the Frenchman. Dubuisson finished with a 63 and was third, seven shots off Hatton.

Rory McIlroy shot even-par 72 to finish tied for 63rd on 4 under par, meaning he ended a season without a victory for only the second time in his professional career.