Tyrrell Hatton takes five-shot lead into final round at St Andrews

Tyrrell Hatton takes five-shot lead into final round at St Andrews

Tyrrell Hatton takes five-shot lead into final round at St Andrews

Tyrrell Hatton admitted Ross Fisher's new course record at St Andrews had spurred him on after successfully defending his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title.

Hatton carded a six-under 66 to end the week on 24 under - breaking the tournament's lowest 72-hole total - to finish three strokes clear of nearest challenger Ross Fisher and become the first player to achieve back-to-back victories in the event.

The Englishman equalled the course record at the home of golf past year on his way to a four-shot victory and a first European Tour title, and a bogey-free 65 put him in a commanding position to defend his crown.

"To win at the home of golf once is incredible but to do it again and defend would be a dream come true", Hatton said.

"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".

Fisher, who reached the turn in 29, recorded four consecutive birdies from the 12th to the 15th... "When you get St. Andrews on a day like this, it's definitely bearable, but you still have to hit the shots".

"And they've been very quiet lately, so my suspicions are up that I think the discussions are going on".

"Unfortunately Tyrrell was too far ahead, but I managed to give him a little bit to think about coming down the stretch".

"It was fun", Fisher said in his post-round press conference.

"My last round of 2017 summed up my season in 2017, stuck in neutral", he said, although he still believes the prep work to be done in the next few weeks will set him up for a return to glories in 2018. Just sort of stuck in neutral.

Not everybody was pleased with all the new course records, by the way. "It's now a slower game and more expensive than before, and that can't be a good thing".

After playing the front nine bogey free for the third straight day, Steele grabbed the lead and then recovered from a couple of bogeys with crucial birdies at the par-five 16th and 18th holes.

Another man who also made significant strides up the season rankings is Robert Rock.

On Thursday the two-time Ryder Cup victor would have finished two under for the day, had he not been handed a two-shot penalty on the final hole at the St Andrew's Old Course.

For Hatton, a tap-in par at the last was more than enough to get back in to the winner's circle.

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