ST ANDREWS: England’s Tyrell Hatton was just one shot off the lead at the end of the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Friday as he looked to become the first player since Tiger Woods to win the same European Tour event three years in a row.
The Ryder Cup winner shot 66 at Carnoustie, the venue for this year’s British Open, and widely regarded as the most difficult of the three Scottish courses that are all used during each edition of the Dunhill.
Four birdies and an eagle on the par-five 14th left Hatton on a halfway total of eight under par in this £3.8 million (US$4.9 million, 4.3 million euros) pro-am event.
But it will be Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and Italy’s Andrea Pavan who head into the weekend atop the leaderboard thanks to rounds of 65 and 63 respectively at Kingsbarns.
Woods won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational from 2005 to 2007 in Akron, Ohio but the tournament was a joint PGA and European Tour event.
Having helped Europe win the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National near Paris last week, where Woods failed to score a point for the United States, Hatton has returned to a set-up he knows well.
“I enjoy this event, I’ve got good memories here and I’m just trying to put up as good a defence as possible,” Hatton told Sky Sports.
“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 26-year-old added.
“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.
“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 also on eight under, with England’s Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood two shots further back after a 67 at Carnoustie.