Hatton close to matching Tiger Woods feat after grabbing Dunhill Links lead

Tyrrell Hatton surged into the lead and took a big step towards winning a third consecutive Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title as he carded a second successive 66 on moving day.

One week on from helping Europe win the Ryder Cup, the Englishman sits at 14 under par, holding a one-shot lead over Australian Marcus Fraser going into the final day of a tournament he also won in 2016 and 2017.

If Hatton succeeds, he will be the first player since Tiger Woods to win the same European Tour event three years in a row, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo the other stars to have achieved the feat.

Hatton hit two eagles and four birdies in an excellent round on Saturday, bogeys on the 12th and 17th his only blemishes as he negotiated the Old Course at St Andrews, matching the six-under effort he produced on Friday at Carnoustie.

“To join that club would be so special,” Hatton said to the European Tour’s website.

“It was nice to shoot a decent score. We’re in a good position going into the final day and that’s all we can ask for.”

Fraser, who was in a share of the lead after day one, remained in contention with a 67 at Kingsbarns that included a fast finish of three birdies in the final four holes.

That late burst moved him past Hatton’s Team Europe colleague Tommy Fleetwood, who stormed up the leaderboard to challenge Hatton with seven birdies inside the first 12 holes, before two late bogeys at 16 and 17 slowed him down at St Andrews. 

But Fleetwood remains in contention, three shots behind Hatton in a tie for third place with Stephen Gallacher, who produced a birdie-free round of 66 to match the leader.

Overnight co-leaders Andrea Pavan and Lucas Bjerregaard both shot 71 at Carnoustie to lose momentum, and now sit four shots adrift of Hatton.

American star Brooks Koepka is among a group of five players sitting at nine under, five strokes off the pace.