ST ANDREWS, October 5, 2018 – A stunning 66 in the second round at Carnoustie kept Tyrrell Hatton on track for a historic third straight Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Just one shot behind leaders Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark and Italy’s Andrea Pavan, he now switches to the Old Course at St Andrews in his chase for what seemed like an impossible dream.
Victory would put him alongside all-time greats Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Tiger Woods, who all won a tournament three consecutive times.
Hatton’s round included four birdies and a six-foot putt for an eagle at the 14th Spectacles hole, and he said: “I have some good memories coming here, and I played last week in such a massive event, so I know my swing is in a good place. Hopefully it's a case of just taking it out to the golf course. It’s been a good couple of days. I'm looking forward to St. Andrews.”
Football legend Ruud Gullit, playing alongside Hatton in the Team Championship, added: “Tyrrell was like a machine. It was unreal how easy he made golf look. After his Ryder Cup debut last week, he is playing with a lot of confidence.
“He’s passionate and that includes not being afraid to show his annoyance at himself at times, and it’s important for him that he does get that anger out. Tyrrell is also funny and we were often laughing together.”
Bjerregaard, 27, shot a 65 at Kingsbarns, while Pavan went even lower with a 63. But they now move on to Carnoustie, traditionally regarded as the most difficult of the three courses.
The highlight of Bjerregaard’s round was a run of birdies on the 6th, 7th and 8th. He said: “It was very good. I didn’t have to fight for my par too much out there. We had absolutely no wind this morning. It was ideal.”
Alongside Hatton is Matthias Schwab, who had a 67, and overnight leader Marcus Fraser, with a 68, both at St Andrews.
American Ryder Cup star Tony Finau added a 66 at Carnoustie to his first round 73 at Kingsbarns to be five-under-par. He said: “It's a ball-striker’s course and I definitely consider myself a good ball-striker. I putted really nicely and put myself into contention going into the weekend. I like the creativity that links brings. A lot different than the golf I'm used to back in the States.”
Stephen Gallacher, winner in 2004, is Scotland’s leading challenger after a 68 at Carnoustie also left him on five-under-par. He said: “It's one of my favourite courses but it's never easy. There are obviously some tough holes but it wasn't that bad. You can give it a good go around the Old Course if you get it going. At least I'm playing there tomorrow and Sunday, so you get a feel for the place.”
The tournament, conceived as a celebration of links golf, is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.
With a prize fund of US$5 million, the championship incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which the professionals are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.