Hatton chips in to save his par on the opening hole at the legendary Old Course
Dunhill Links Championship final leaderboard
-24 T Hatton (Eng); -21 R Fisher (Eng); -17 V Dubuisson (Fra); -14 M Warren (Sco), R Rock (Eng), G Bourdy (Fra); -13 O Fisher (Eng), E Pepperell (Eng), A Levy (Fr), L Donald (Eng), P Dunne (Ire); -12 S Gallacher (Sco), B Evans (Eng), J Lagergren (Swe)
Selected others: -11 G McDowell (NI); -10 T Fleetwood (Eng); -4 R McIlroy (NI)

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton became the first man to defend the Dunhill Links Championship title as he recorded a three-shot victory at St Andrews.

The world number 29 began the final day at the Old Course five ahead and shot a six-under 66 to win on 24 under.

Ross Fisher set a new course record with an 11-under 61 to claim second.

World number six Rory McIlroy will end 2017 without a title, carding a 72 in his final round of the year to finish 20 strokes behind the winner.

Hatton pitched into the burn in front of the green on the first, but having taken a penalty drop he calmly chipped in to salvage par and then ensured a comfortable cushion at the top of the leaderboard with birdies at the next four holes.

The Buckinghamshire golfer, who gained his first European title with his four-shot victory at St Andrews 12 months ago, missed the cut in all four majors this season, but tied for third at the European Masters last month and eighth last week at the British Masters.

Fisher, the world number 55 who recorded the last of his five European wins in 2014, reduced the lead to three at the 15th with his 11th birdie of the day, which left him needing two birdies in the closing three holes for a round of 59.

The 36-year-old Englishman parred the 16th and 17th, meaning he needed to eagle the 357-yard final hole to break 60.

He drove just short of the green, but although he three-putted for a par, it beat the previous best at St Andrews of 62, held by Hatton, among others. It was his best finish of the season and his seventh in the top-10.

McIlroy, 28, who will take three months away from tournament golf, had two birdies and two bogeys and said: “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.”

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