England’s Tyrrell Hatton has carded seven birdies and a lone bogey to cruise to a four-shot victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
The 24-year-old set up his maiden European Tour victory with a stunning third round 62 to equal the course record at St Andrews, which gave him a healthy three-shot lead heading into the final round. He backed that up with an impressive final round 66 on the Old Course to finish on 23 under, four shots clear of countryman Ross Fisher and South African Richard Sterne.
“It feels amazing. I've wanted this moment since I was a six-year-old walking around Wentworth. It's incredible,” Hatton said. “I was quite nervous for the majority of the round but I played really solid today and holed some good putts, and that kept the momentum going. That was key to winning this week.
“It makes it special and to do it at the Home of Golf is fantastic. Hopefully I can have a good end to the year now.”
“One of my goals was to get inside the Top-50 in the world. I think I was 53rd coming into this week, and I look forward to hearing from my manager John, he sends me a message every Monday morning when the World Rankings come out of what position I am. So I look forward to that text tomorrow, and hopefully I can have a great end to the year and try and climb even higher.”
Hatton got off to a strong start in the final round, rolling in a birdie putt from six feet at the 3rd hole before draining a 25-foot putt at the next to pick up another shot. He dropped one shot for the day, at the 17th, but was able to steady and coolly hole his par putt at the last to seal win.
Fisher said it was always going to be a tough assignment to overhaul Hatton in the final round and his game wasn’t up to the task.
“It was always going to be tough,” he said. “Starting the day three behind I think I was, I needed to put pressure on Tyrrell but unfortunately my game is just not quite as solid as the first three days. Obviously a pleasure to witness a good friend's first victory and what a place to do it.
“It's been two really good weeks consecutively, so a lot of momentum, a lot of positives, and yeah, just taking it one tournament at a time.”
Master’s champion Danny Willett and his caddie Jonathan Smart won the Pro-Am Team Championship at 38 under, with Polish pro Adrian Meronk and Swedish businessman Johan Eliasch one shot off the pace.
“It's been great fun,” said Willett, who missed the cut in the main event. “You don't see it from that perspective a lot, especially John, he's a lot more from the other side and to be under pressure and him to be able to hole a putt, it's a complete different role.
“I'm glad we've had the week we've had. It's been brilliant.”
Jordan Zunic, playing in his seventh European Tour event for 2016, was the best placed Australian. The New South Welshman fired weekend rounds of 67-70 to get to 10 under and finish T18, which gave him the biggest European Tour cheque of his career thus far.