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Links Lustre

by Mike Cullity

Winning on the Old Course is becoming habit for Tyrrell Hatton.

Hatton, the 25-year-old Englishman who stormed St Andrews last fall to win his first European Tour title, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, turned the trick again on Sunday. With a closing 66, he held off countryman Ross Fisher, whose 11-under-par 61 in the last round broke the Old Course record.

The Dunhill Links repeat was a welcome development for Hatton, whose form went missing during the summer. After rising to a career-high 14th in the world on the strength of three top-five finishes on the European and PGA tours in February and March, Hatton missed the cut in all four majors and didn’t crack the top 30 anyplace in June, July or August.

Hatton prefaced his latest winning turn with a top-three at the Omega European Masters in September and a top-10 at the British Masters two Sundays ago. With four lucrative Rolex Series events on tap in the next six weeks, his timing would seem impeccable.

In France, American Cristie Kerr spent an LPGA off week assaulting par at the Lacoste Ladies Open. The 39-year-old Floridian led by no less than nine strokes after holing a wedge for eagle to close the third round and hung on to win the Ladies European Tour event by four.

In the California wine country, Brendan Steele won the Safeway Open, the first tournament of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season. And on social media, Tiger Woods furnished evidence of progress in his recovery from spinal-fusion surgery: a video in which he takes a full swing and hits one of what we can only presume were multiple “smooth iron shots,” as his accompanying comment states.


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