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Bjerregaard dashes Hatton’s Dunhill dream to lift title

October 08 2018

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard compiled an excellent five-under 67 amid blustery conditions at the Home of Golf to clinch the 2018 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The 27-year-old made an excellent birdie on his penultimate hole (16) to ensure a closing bogey on the infamous Road Hole could not prevent him finishing one shot clear of Ryder Cup duo Tyrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood (both -14).

Hatton, seeking a third successive win in the event, held a one shot lead going into the final round, which saw each group start at 8.30am with a shotgun start to avoid high winds forecast in the afternoon.

The St Andrews galleries who braved the wind and showers came expecting to see Hatton make history by winning his third consecutive Alfred Dunhill Links title, but Bjerregaard’s scintillating play in the difficult conditions saw him overcome the four shot deficit and sent the Old Course golf fans home saluting a great performance. 

Bjerregaard said: “It was a great day. Obviously one of the best rounds I've played all year. It didn't really look like I had much of a chance. It looked like Tyrrell was going to run away with it. But I just kept going about my business.

“I knew the back nine was going to play tough, so I thought if I could throw in a few birdies there, I would still have a chance. I didn't rush it and they just slowly came. The one on the 16th was really nice.”

With the shotgun start meaning Bjerregaard completed his round on the 17th green he enjoyed the unique privilege of crossing the Swilcan Bridge with the title already his.

He added: “I enjoyed that walk up 18, and probably even more, because it's not like I needed a birdie or anything, so I could walk up there in peace knowing that it was all over. I really took it in and enjoyed it.”

Bjerregaard also revealed that he received inspiration from the European Ryder Cup win after being invited to Paris by fellow Dane, Thomas Bjorn, the team captain.

He said: “I had never been to the Ryder Cup before, but Thomas was kind enough to invite me. He showed me around. I saw the team room and the locker room and I would lie if I said I wasn't inspired going home from there.”

Bjerregaard becomes only the second Dane to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship following Thorbjørn Olesen’s victory in 2015.  The links to the Dunhill title continue with Bjerregaard's caddie Jonathan Smart, who used to be on Danny Willett's bag and won the Team Championship with Willett in 2016.  

Hatton, winner in 2016 and 2017, was left to rue what might have been, pointing to a tee shot on the 10th hole that found a bunker and prompted a bogey 5. He said: “The momentum completely went after the tee shot on the 10th. I guess my putt on the last to get in the play-off sums it up, really. Just a massive gust of wind just knocks me off. I'm pretty disappointed because I had a five-shot lead at one point. It was in my hands.”

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 Kingsbarns Golf Links.  
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