Sport

Tyrrell Hatton wins first European Tour title at Dunhill Links Championship

England's Tyrell Hatton tees off at the third hole during day four of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrew's<br />Picture by PA&nbsp;&nbsp;
England's Tyrell Hatton tees off at the third hole during day four of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrew's
Picture by PA  
England's Tyrell Hatton tees off at the third hole during day four of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrew's
Picture by PA  

ENGLAND'S Tyrrell Hatton cruised to his first European Tour title with a commanding victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday.

Hatton, who equalled the course record at St Andrew's with a flawless 62 on Saturday, carded a closing 66 to finish 23 under par, matching the tournament record set by David Howell and Peter Uihlein in 2013.

Playing partner Ross Fisher and South Africa's Richard Sterne shared second place on 19 under, with Sweden's Joakim Lagergren two shots further back in fourth and Scotland's Marc Warren fifth on 16 under.

"It feels amazing," said Hatton, who will climb from 53rd in the world rankings to a new career-high inside the top 35.

"I've wanted this moment since I was a six-year-old walking around Wentworth [watching the BMW PGA Championship], so it's incredible."

Hatton, who will celebrate his 25th birthday on Friday, took a three-shot lead into the final round and was never in danger of being caught after firing a hat-trick of birdies from the third and picking up another on the ninth.

Sterne and Fisher reduced their deficit to four shots thanks to birdies on the 11th and 10th respectively, but Sterne then saw his birdie putt from four feet on the 12th catch the edge of the hole and spin out.

Hatton had no such problem on the same hole and although Sterne did birdie the par-five 14th, Hatton did likewise to tighten his grip on the title and the first prize of £612,000. Another birdie on the 15th left Hatton six shots clear and although he carded his only bogey of the weekend after finding the Road Hole bunker on the 17th, the former Challenge Tour graduate had done enough to secure a seemingly nerveless win.

"It didn't feel that way inside," Hatton added.

"I was pretty nervous all day. I started to feel a little bit more comfortable down 14, 15 and was just so happy I got over the line. I had a new putter in the bag this week and it worked really well. I'm just so happy. It's the British Masters next week and I'm looking forward to that. We'll have a good evening tonight and hopefully I can have a good end to the year as well."

Sterne carded a flawless closing 66 but was never able to get closer than four shots behind the Englishman in the group ahead: "I played nicely," said Sterne, who holed a 50-yard pitch on the 17th for his final birdie of the day.

"I tried my best to put some pressure on Tyrrell but he got off to a good start and kept it going, which is good. It's a big win and it's going to be a special win for him here at the Old Course. I was 72nd on the Order of Merit, so I needed this to get into the last few events. Those events are something we aspire to get into and this should take care of that."

Warren began the week 125th on the Race to Dubai with only the top 110 retaining their playing privileges at the end of the season: "I'm very happy, to say the least," he said.

"Obviously, I knew coming in today was an important day for me in terms of the season and to go out and play like that, 67, bogey-free, was relatively stress-free as much as it could be. This is a tournament I've always had on my schedule. I was fortunate, one year I couldn't get in and got an invite and got a top-five finish and got my card back that year. It's a place I knew I could do it, have a good finish, and in very similar circumstances."

Masters champion Danny Willett, who missed the cut in the tournament proper, won the pro-am event with his caddie Jonathan Smart after Smart birdied the pair's final hole to finish a shot ahead of Adrian Meronk and Johan Eliasch.