Hatton defends Dunhill title

08 October 2017 13:54:27 EST

Tyrrell Hatton has successfully defended his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title, the first golfer in history to do so.

After fine rounds of 65 on both the second and third days, the Englishman had a healthy five-shot lead going into Sunday and was relatively comfortable through the concluding round winning by three shots.

I will not start hitting balls to the end of November, so the next few weeks is about rehab.

Rory McIlroy

His six under 66 on Sunday left him 24 under the championship, three ahead of fellow Englishman Ross Fisher whose 11 under par 61 set a new course record.

Hatton won the title at St Andrews last year, his first on the European Tour, and, well ahead of the field, could afford a scare or two this year on his final round.

One came on the opening hole where he was forced to take a penalty drop but still recovered to save his par.

Then, he continued his rich vein of form with birdies at the next four holes. Fisher reduced his lead to three shots with three holes to play but was unable to get any closer and Hatton, so dominant on Saturday took the title for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy finished 20 strokes behind Hatton and therefore ends 2017 without a title.

The Northern Irishman is taking the rest of the year off and said after completing his round: "My final round of 2017 kind of summed up all of 2017, with not much happening either good or bad and I was sort of stuck in neutral.

"I will not start hitting balls to the end of November, so the next few weeks is about rehab and being in the gym and getting my body right so that I will be right to go into that practice and start 2018 strongly."

McIlroy will want to taste more success in 2018 and he is 9/1 to win the US Masters, the first major of next year in Augusta.

Jordan Spieth is 10/1 to win with last year's winner Sergio Garcia priced at 28/1.

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