Tyrrell Hatton in contention for three-peat at Dunhill Links

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Tyrrell Hatton in contention for three-peat at Dunhill Links

Euro Tour

Tyrrell Hatton in contention for three-peat at Dunhill Links

Tyrrell Hatton is showing no signs of a Ryder Cup hangover. Just the opposite – he’s on course to win his third straight $5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Hatton returned a bogey-free 66 at Carnoustie to reach 8 under, one shot behind Andrea Pavan of Italy and Sweden’s Lucas Bjerregaard. It’s the Englishman’s eighth consecutive sub-70 round in the Alfred Dunhill Links.

Not bad for a guy who was partying until 4 a.m. following Europe’s Ryder Cup victory. Hatton woke up in the washroom of his hotel room after Europe’s celebrations. He then got on a plane to Scotland to defend the title he’s won the last two years. He could become the first player since Ernie Els to win a European event for three straight years. Els won the Heineken Classic in Australia between 2002 and 2004.

“It seems I’ve either missed the cut in this event or won,” said Hatton, who missed the cut in 2014 and 2015. “The first few years playing here was difficult.

“It’s been a good couple of days. There’s still two days to go, but I’m looking forward to playing St. Andrews tomorrow.

“We got Carnoustie on a nice day today, which helps. This is the toughest out of the three, especially when it blows, so we’re all fortunate to get pretty calm conditions today.”

Pavan is looking for his second win of the season following the D+D REAL Czech Masters. The former Texas A&M player returned a bogey-free 63 at Kingsbarns.

“It’s great to start playing well like this, and give myself chances,” Pavan said. “All I can do is keep plugging along and playing well. Right now, the focus is just to get out there tomorrow and just play each shot and to have a good game plan and then we’ll see. All you can do is try to play well and be within having a chance on Sunday afternoon.”

Brooks Koepka could only manage a level-par 72 at Carnoustie. He sits in 30th place on 2 under. Ryder Cup teammate Tony Finau matched Hatton’s 66 to jump move to 5 under in joint 12th place.

Like Hatton, Bjerregaard is looking for his second European Tour win to go with last year’s Portugal Masters.

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