Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish trio finish with flourish at St Andrews

Gerard Hughes

Published 10/10/2016 | 02:30

Lowry saved his best round of the week for last, carding a bogey-free 66 to move to 10-under for the tournament and finished tied for 18th. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Lowry saved his best round of the week for last, carding a bogey-free 66 to move to 10-under for the tournament and finished tied for 18th. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne and Graeme McDowell produced strong final rounds to finish in the top-25 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship yesterday as England's Tyrrell Hatton cruised to his first European Tour title.

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McDowell was the highest Irish finisher, his final-round 69 seeing him conclude his tournament at 11-under, in a tie for 15th.

Lowry saved his best round of the week for last, carding a bogey-free 66 to move to 10-under for the tournament and finished tied for 18th.

Dunne followed up his third-round 66 with a 69 yesterday to place in a tie for 25th, one shot behind Lowry on nine-under.

The result is a timely boost for the Greystones golfer in his bid to retain his European Tour card for next season.

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

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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 the 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 (€680,000).

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