Tyrrell Hatton made a timely charge in the Race to Dubai as the countdown to the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai begins after becoming the first man to successfully defend the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The 25-year-old Englishman carded a flawless final round 66 to finish three shots ahead of fellow countryman Ross Fisher at the Old Course, St Andrews to claim 676,132 points and take himself from 33rd to 11th place in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings.
The result sees Hatton’s season tally swell to 1,452,782 points, positioning himself nicely to secure a top ten berth going in to the DP World Tour Championship which takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
Hatton came in to the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a healthy five shot lead but experienced an early hiccup when he put his approach on the opening hole in to the Swilcan Burn. However, a superb chip in for par after taking a drop saw him start a golden run on the front nine as he went on to birdie the next four holes to open up a seven-shot lead over the field.
In the end the man from Buckinghamshire held off an impressive late charge from Fisher to finish on 24 under par.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Hatton, who becomes just the fourth man after Curtis Strange, Trevor Immelman and Thongchai Jaidee to successfully defend a trophy for his first two wins.
“It felt so much harder than last year, maybe that’s just a bit more pressure on myself but I’m so happy that I managed to defend it and what a great week again.
“I think the format is helping me, playing with Jamie (Dornan) we had good fun out there and it sort of keeps me relaxed which is what I need to do. We’ve just had good fun, I think that is what this tournament is about.”
Runner-up Fisher also wrote his name in to the history books on the final day at St. Andrews as he broke the Old Course record with a blistering round of 11 under par 61. The result sees him move from ninth to sixth in the Race to Dubai rankings as he picks up 450,752 points to improve his season-tally to 1,936,014.
Meanwhile Victor Dubuisson’s third place finish in Scotland means he’s now only one good finish from securing his place in next month’s season finale. The Frenchman picked up an invaluable 253,955 points to jump from 122nd to 63rd spot in the Race to Dubai rankings.
His fellow countryman Grégory Bourdy also did his chances of securing a spot among the Race to Dubai’s top 60 on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates by finishing in a tie for fourth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The result means he now moves from 90th to 62nd place with a season tally of 521,453 points.
A top five finish for Scotland’s Marc Warren sees him break in to the top 60 in the Race to Dubai rankings. He’s now in 56th spot after picking up 172,278 for his tied fourth place finish.
Another man who also made significant strides up the season rankings is Robert Rock. The Englishman also finished in a tie for fourth to pick up 172,278 points and catapult himself from 102nd to 66th in the Race to Dubai rankings with a season tally of 498,209 points.
However after an outing which included a course record 63 at Carnoustie, it’s still Englishman Tommy Fleetwood who remains at the head of the rankings with 3,807,265 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857.
Paul Dunne has given himself a superb chance of entering the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after winning his maiden European Tour event at the British Masters.
The Irishman denied a charging Rory McIlroy to capture the title in Newcastle on Sunday with a spectacular final round of 61.
The 24-year-old laid the platform for a closing 18-hole effort of nine-under-par with three birdies and an eagle in his first six holes at the Close House course in northeast England.
That gave him a combined tournament total of 20 under-par and a win by three shots from McIlroy, with Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, who had led by a shot heading to the final day, posting a 66 for third place at 16-under par.
Four-time major winner McIlroy had moved to within a shot of Dunne in shooting 63 on Sunday for a total of 17-under.
But Dunne held his nerve brilliantly and answered McIlroy’s challenge with birdies over his closing two holes, including sensationally chipping-in from well off the green at the last.
Dunne’s victory, his first in 51 tour events, helped make amends for his defeat in a play-off for the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco earlier this year.
The result sees Dunne claim 562,500 points in the process to surge from 34th to 12th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
McIlroy, who finished second, picked up 374,996 points to move from 10th to sixth place.
However, it’s still Tommy Fleetwood who remains at the head of the rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third on 2,761,857.
Romain Wattel is one step closer to securing his place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, after winning his maiden European Tour event at the KLM Open.
The 26-year-old Frenchman, who is a Dubai resident and practices at Jumeirah Golf Estates European Tour Performance Institute, finished a shot ahead of Canada’s Austin Connelly on a lively final day at The Dutch in Spijk to claim 300,000 points and jump from 130th to 55th spot in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings. The win comes on the back of 25 top-ten finishes in his previous 186 events.
The result sees Wattel’s season tally swell to 483,348 points, placing him in prime position to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour International Dubai office, said: “We congratulate Romain on entering the winner’s circle on the European Tour for the very first time, continuing a fantastic run of Dubai based winners this season which has also included Alvaro Quiros and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
“With the Ryder Cup being played in France next year, it would be fantastic to see a Frenchman make it in to the European team. We wish Romain all the best in his quest to qualify for the season finale in November and for The Ryder Cup next year.”
Wattel came in to the final round of the KLM Open one shot behind Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat. However, a fiery start from the Frenchman which included three birdies in his first six holes saw him take the lead.
Once in front, he stayed in control for the majority of the final round and managed to survive a late scare when he missed the green with his approach to the last. However, a delightful up-and-down on the 72nd hole saw him sign for a closing round of 69 to end on 15 under par, one ahead of Connelly.
“I am happy with the way I played all week,” said Wattel, who has not finished higher than 24th in the Race to Dubai rankings. “It’s been a very nice weekend. I’ve been putting really bad the last two years – I think I’m a really good putter but the last two years were tough for me.
“I have been in contention before and while I had not won before I knew what I had to do; I knew what I had to expect and thankfully this time it was my week. It feels amazing to win for the first time – I am so happy right now.”
Connelly’s lone runner-up finish at the KLM Open earned him a healthy tally of 200,000 points. He now leapfrogs from 123rd to 71st place in the Race to Dubai rankings with a season tally of 407,890 points. The 20-year-old Canadian, who impressed at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, is now only a few good finishes away from securing his place in November’s season finale.
Meanwhile George Coetzee and Eddie Pepperell picked up a much-needed 73,500 points each as they finished tied for third place with Wattel’s fellow Dubai resident Sebastian Heisele, Lee Westwood, Justin Walters and Joel Salter to put themselves in a better position to break into the top 60 in the Race to Dubai Rankings. Coetzee now moves to 64th while Pepperell is in 75th spot.
Westwood, improved his rankings position one place from 26th to 25th, Heisel moves from 162nd to 131st, Walters from 146th to 122nd and Salter from 157th to 129th.
There was also movement on top of the Race to Dubai as Bernd Wiesberger’s top ten finish in the Netherlands saw him surpass Rory McIlroy for ninth spot in the rankings. The Austrian collected 33,876 points at the KLM Open to take his season tally to 1,475,239.
However, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood still remains at the head of the rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857.
TOP 10 RACE TO DUBAI RANKINGS AFTER KLM OPEN
|4||Rafa CABRERA BELLO||(ESP)||2,124,686|
Click here for the full 2017 Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.