Hat­ton mas­ters Carnoustie as he bids to re­tain Links ti­tle

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Ry­der Cup win­ner Tyrrell Hat­ton is just a shot off the lead as he looks to be­come the first player since Tiger Woods to win the same Euro­pean Tour event for three years in suc­ces­sion.

Hat­ton carded a sec­ond round of 66 in the Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship at Carnoustie, tra­di­tion­ally the tough­est of the three cour­ses used for the £3.8mil­lion pro-am event.

Four birdies and an ea­gle from six feet on the par-five 14th gave Hat­ton a halfway to­tal of eight un­der par, with Den­mark’s Lu­cas Bjer­re­gaard and Italy’s An­drea Pa­van set­ting the pace on nine un­der thanks to rounds of 65 and 63 re­spec­tively at Kings­barns.

Ir­ish charge

Padraig Har­ring­ton leads the Ir­ish charge - he posted a sec­ond round of 72 around Carnoustie, his level par round leav­ing him on three un­der par for the tour­na­ment.

Paul McGin­ley is a shot fur­ther adrift af­ter he shot 73 round Carnoustie on Fri­day. Shane Lowry is well off the pace on three over par af­ter a sec­ond round of 75, with Graeme McDow­ell and Paul Dunne on five over par and seven over par for the tour­na­ment re­spec­tively.

Hat­ton was part of Europe’s tri­umphant side at Le Golf Na­tional in Paris last week where Woods, who won the WGC-Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional from 2005 to 2007, failed to se­cure a point from four matches.

“I en­joy this event, I’ve got good mem­o­ries here and I’m just try­ing to put up as good a de­fence as pos­si­ble,” said Hat­ton, who is now 55 un­der par for his last 10 rounds in the event.

The 26-year-old English­man ad­mit­ted on Thurs­day that the Ry­der Cup cel­e­bra­tions were “messy” and ended with him fall­ing asleep next to the toi­let in his ho­tel room at 4am, but added on Sky Sports: “It’s a lot dif­fer­ent this week.

“Last week you have so much adren­a­line and such an at­mos­phere to play in and this week is the other end of the scale. The crowds aren’t too big here. It’s a much more re­laxed style of golf, we’re play­ing with the am­a­teurs and we have a good time which is what this week is all about.

Record-set­ting

“And we got Carnoustie on a nice day to­day, which helps a lot. This is the tough­est of the three cour­ses, es­pe­cially when the wind blows so we are all for­tu­nate to get pretty calm con­di­tions.”

Aus­tria’s Matthias Schwab and Aus­tralia’s Mar­cus Fraser are along­side Hat­ton on eight un­der, with Ry­der Cup team-mate Tommy Fleet­wood two shots fur­ther back af­ter a 67 at Carnoustie.

Fleet­wood’s record-set­ting part­ner in Paris, Francesco Moli­nari, is not in the field but the Ital­ian’s brother Edoardo is just four shots off the pace fol­low­ing a 66 at St An­drews.

Amer­i­can Tony Finau, who beat Fleet­wood 6&4 in Sun­day’s sin­gles at Le Golf Na­tional, is also five un­der, while team-mate Brooks Koepka is seven shots off the lead on two un­der.

Padraig Har­ring­ton: lead­ing the Ir­ish chal­lenge in the Links Cham­pi­onship

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