Defending champ Hatton leads Dunhill Links by 5The Associated Press
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton opened up a five-shot lead heading into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Saturday.
A bogey-free 7-under-par 65 put Hatton in a commanding position to defend the title the Englishman won by four shots last year at St. Andrews, the home of golf.
After opening with a 68 on the Old Course on Thursday, he followed that with a 65 at Carnoustie, and matched that mark at Kingsbarns to go to 18 under.
Gregory Bourdy of France was his closest challenger at 13 under after a 66.
Paul Dunne of Ireland was at 11 under, with former world No. 1 Luke Donald and Ross Fisher a further shot back.
Rory McIlroy was at 4 under overall, one more than the cut line.
Hatton got up to 14th in the world rankings in March before enduring a frustrating summer, but that will all be forgotten should he become the first man to successfully defend this title.
"To win at the home of golf once is incredible, but to do it again and defend would be a dream come true," he said.
Starting on the back nine, he birdied the 10th, 12th and 14th, hit a brilliant approach to the first, and then did well to get up and down from a bunker on the third. Another birdie on the fourth handed him a six-shot lead.
Bourdy made four birdies in a row from the third at Carnoustie, while Dunne, who claimed a maiden pro win last week at the British Masters, had three birdies and a bogey in a 70 at Kingsbarns.
Fisher birdied six of his last seven holes at Kingsbarns for a 67, and Donald also produced a big finish with four birdies in seven holes.