ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tyrrell Hatton won his first European Tour title after taking apart the Old Course at St. Andrews for the second straight day in an impressive display of front-running at the Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Englishman, who had a three-shot lead overnight, followed up a course record-tying, bogey-free 62 at the home of golf on Saturday with a 6-under 66 in the final round. He finished on a total of 23 under par (265).
Hatton won by four shots from Richard Sterne (66) and Ross Fisher (67) to earn about $800,000 — easily the biggest pay check of his career.
The win capped a strong second half of 2016 for Hatton, who was second at the Scottish Open, fifth at the British Open and 10th at the U.S. PGA Championship.
“It’s a dream come true, and to do it at the home of golf is fantastic,” said the 53rd-ranked Hatton, who had two second places and two third places on his resume until finally ending his drought.
His performances in the Scottish and British Opens demonstrated his competence on links courses, and his weekend rounds at St. Andrews were clinics.
Hatton had three straight birdies at Nos. 3-5 and rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to open up a six-shot advantage. More birdies came at Nos. 12, 14 and 15, meaning a bogey on the 17th — after finding the Road Hole bunker — had little effect and he could play the famous 18th hole with no pressure.
“I was quite nervous for the majority of the round,” Hatton said, “but I played really solid and holed some good putts, and that kept the momentum going.”
Sterne chipped in for birdie at No. 17 and parred the last for a bogey-free 66 — and a fourth straight round in the 60s this week. Fisher, the second-round leader, stiffed his approach on No. 18 and tapped in for birdie to secure a tie for second.
Joakim Lagergren of Sweden shot 68 for 17 under and a fourth-place finish, which will secure his tour card for another season.
The Dunhill Links is played over three Scottish links courses — at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns — across the first three days before culminating in a final round over the Old Course.
It incorporates two separate competitions: An individual European Tour tournament and a team event in which professionals are paired with amateur golfers.