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Hatton holds off Fisher charge on record breaking day at the Home of Golf

October 09 2017

The Old Course has a long legacy of creating magic memories in Championship golf, however there are few days when so many pages of its record books have been rewritten, such was the calibre of play contested during the closing round of the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

In just a few short hours Englishman Tyrell Hatton defended his 2016 title, the first golfer to ever retain the prestigious title and did so at trailblazing pace, his total of 24-under a record for the event and one better than his 2016 performance.

But it was not just Hatton who secured his place in the history books as fellow countryman Ross Fisher mounted a remarkable final day charge to keep Hatton honest and eclipse the long-standing low score on the world’s most famous Links, recording the first-ever 61 on the Old Course.

At one time it looked as though Fisher was on course to capture golf’s magic number and record a 59, which would have still seen him come up shy of Hatton’s winning total but would have invariably stolen some of the attention. In many respects Hatton’s imperious form did not deserve to have any attention taken from it, as the 25-year-old was able to make more history and reflect on a remarkable week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. 

“It's an unbelievable feeling to win twice at the Home of Golf, but this felt much harder than last year,” he said, following his 66. “All credit to Ross, what a round from him. I just feel very happy to get over the line.”

Through the summer months Hatton had cut a frustrated figure, missing six cuts out of seven, including the US Open, The Open and USPGA. By August a season that had promised so much for the young man from High Wycombe, who had risen to world No 14, seemed to be in danger of derailment.

But Hatton went back to basics with his swing and decided to part ways with his caddie Chris Rice. His best friend Jonathan Bell was handed the bag for the European Masters at the start of September and after a third, an eighth and now a win in his three tournaments working with Hatton, he might find it difficult to return to the Europro Tour to chase his own playing dreams, particularly with his share of Hatton’s first prize of £635,000.

“It feels so great to win here again and to defend my title because it proves that last year wasn't a fluke week,” Hatton added. “You know, if you told me in the summer that I was going to win again before the end of the year, I probably wouldn't have believed you.”

Hatton chipped in for par at the first and then birdied the next four as he appeared to be in complete control of all aspects of his game and the outcome of the tournament. Yet Hatton revealed he could sense Fisher’s record round was cause for concern. “It was nerve-wracking towards the end, however it looked,” he said.  “Ross pushed me all the way.”

For Fisher’s part, he conceded that he was chasing his own place in golfing folklore rather than Hatton. When the 36-year-old made his fourth birdie in succession on the 15th, which was his seventh in nine holes and, even more incredibly, his 11th in 14 holes, he needed two more in his last three holes to reach golf’s magic number, 59. And where else would any golfer wish to leave such a mark than the Home of Golf?

“No there wouldn’t,” Fisher replied. “And it was a shame not to birdie the last for a 60, but I'm not going to complain too much with a 61.” His consolation was a return to the world’s top 50 and his own place in the Home of Golf's history books alongside Hatton.
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