There are plenty of golfers who have lost a tournament on the Old Course’s treacherous 17th down the years. Yesterday, Lucas Bjerregaard won a title on it.
With a weather-enforced shotgun start in operation for the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Bjerregaard closed out a five-under 67 with a bogey-five on the Road Hole. It didn’t matter.
The 27-year-old’s 15-under aggregate gave him a one shot win over the Ryder Cup duo of Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton as he secured the second European Tour crown of his blossoming career and a cheque for over £600,000.
Arnold Palmer once suggested that the best way to play the 17th was “in an ambulance.” Bjerregaard may have been tempted to hire an open top bus. Once he had negotiated it, of course.
“It was nice being able to walk up the 18th in peace, knowing I didn’t need a birdie or anything,” added the Dane, who began his round on the last a few hours earlier and made an early birdie which got him up and running and ended with him crossing the line first.
It’s been a good few days for Danish golf. Thomas Bjorn skippered Europe to victory in the Ryder Cup the previous weekend while Thorbjorn Olesen, the Dunhill winner in 2015, pitched in with a Sunday singles win as the hosts swept to victory over the USA.
“Thomas was kind enough to invite me to the Ryder Cup,” said Bjerregaard. “Seeing the team room and everything was really inspiring. I definitely want to make that team some day.”
Bjerregaard and the rest had a job on their hands yesterday. Overnight leader Hatton, aiming to win the Dunhill Links for a third successive year, looked to be coasting to another triumph. After a run of four birdies in a row from the third, the 26-year-old was briefly five strokes clear and when he reached the turn he still held a commanding four-stroke advantage.
The chasing pack were going to have to perform the kind of reeling in job Chief Brodie and his cronies conjured in Jaws. Bjerregaard began to make some bites into that lead, though, as Hatton’s round unravelled on an unforgiving inward half.
As the Englishman stumbled to back-to-back bogeys at the 10th and 11th, Bjerregaard’s fourth birdie of the day on the 13th cut the deficit to just a shot. Fleetwood was not out of it either and when Hatton leaked more shots at 15 and 16, Bjerregaard, who resembled some kind of golfing ninja warrior with only his eyes peering out from a hat and snood, struck a decisive blow with a birdie putt of 25-feet on the 16th to inch ahead.
Fleetwood had a chance to draw level on the last but his birdie attempt drifted by. Hatton also arrived on the last with a chance to force a play-off from around 12-feet but his effort epitomised a fairly ruinous inward half for the title holder.
“A massive gust of wind just knocked me off,” he said. “I had a five-shot lead at one point. It was in my hands.” Bjerregaard gladly seized it.
Source : HeraldScotland