MX23RW : Sunday, October 21 02:06:39

Hatton closes in on ‘special’ Dunhill Links hat-trick

Hatton is 61 under at the event since 2016.

Ryder Cup winner Tyrrell Hatton fired a 66 at St Andrews to put himself on course for a third consecutive victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Just six says after being part of Europe’s thumping 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National, the Englishman stood on the brink of making more history as he looked to become just the second Englishman after Sir Nick Faldo to win the same European Tour event three years in succession.

Faldo achieved the feat at the Irish Open between 1991 and 1993, while the last player to do it was Tiger Woods, who won the WGC-Invitational and WGC-Championship events from 2005 to 2007.

Hatton will enter the final day at St Andrews on 14 under par, one shot clear of Australian Marcus Fraser and three ahead of countryman and fellow Ryder Cup winner Tommy Fleetwood and Scottish 2004 champion Stephen Gallacher.

“I’m certainly going to go out there tomorrow and give it my best,” Hatton told europeantour.com. “To join that club would be so special.

“We’re in a good position going into the final day and that’s all we can ask for.”

Hatton led by three at the turn after he birdied the second, eagled the par-five fifth and then made another eagle on the par-four ninth after driving the green.

England's Tommy Fleetwood is in contention
England’s Tommy Fleetwood is in contention (Kenny Smith/PA Wire)

When he bogeyed the 12th, his lead was cut to one by Fleetwood, who had made gains on the first, second, third, fifth and eighth, but Hatton birdied the 13th and 14th to lead by three again.

Fleetwood birdied the 10th and 12th and a Hatton bogey on the 17th saw him caught, but he birdied the last before Fleetwood three-putted the 16th and 17th from distance to slip back.

Fraser recovered from a bogey on the second with six birdies in a 67 at Kingsbarns, while Gallacher birdied the 10th, 12th, 16th, sixth, seventh and ninth at St Andrews.

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard and Italian Andrea Pavan were at 10 under, a shot clear of a group of five players containing reigning US Open and US PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka.

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