Tyrrell Hatton made history with his second straight Alfred Dunhill Links Championship victory, something never achieved before, but had to share some of the glory with Ross Fisher, who broke the Old Course record with a breath-taking 11-under-par 61.
Hatton had gone into the final round with a five-shot lead and played a faultless six-under-par 66 to win by three strokes from Fisher. His winning score of 24-under-par is the lowest ever in the Alfred Dunhill Links. So solid has his game been that he did not have a bogey over the last three rounds.
He said: “This was the first time I had ever defended a title or had the challenge of trying to do it. It felt like it was a lot harder today than it was last year. I’m so happy that I managed to get over the line.
“I didn’t see a leaderboard on the back nine until the 16th green, when I saw Fish was at 21-under and I was thinking how well he was going today. It was an incredible round of golf, and he certainly did push me all the way.”
Hatton, who wins US$800,000, shared some of the credit. He said: “I’ve got a new caddie on the bag at the moment, my good friend, Jonathan. He’s done a great job since we started working together in Switzerland. I think having a friend on the bag is keeping me relaxed.”
He had said before he teed off that to win at the Home of Golf once was incredible, but to do it twice would be ‘a dream come true’. Now the dream has become reality and moves him on to the next stage of his promising career.
His amateur partner in the Team Championship, actor Jamie Dornan, said: “It was amazing to be in the last group again. Tyrrell has played phenomenal golf this week to get so far in front, and he’s just fearless on the course.
“His composure on the course is a big factor. As much as he can get down on himself he must also have some inner calmness to keep playing as well as this. We certainly make each other laugh at times, which keeps things relaxed.”
Fisher said: “Unfortunately Tyrrell was too far ahead, but I managed to give him a little bit to think about coming down the stretch. But hats off to him. To win your first tournament here at the Home of Golf is fantastic.”