The sun was finally shining down on the golf courses yesterday, and the calm conditions showed links golf in all its beauty. As a result, the crowds flocked to the Old Course to get a chance to see the players and celebs here in St Andrews. From a vantage point on the 11th green, it became clear that one group was attracting the biggest following. When I arrived at the pact 12th hole, I was initially pleased to see that it was Tyrell Hatton, the current tournament leader, attracting the crowds with his fine performances this week. However, I had temporarily forgot that his playing partner was Jamie Dornan, and from a quick scout around the crowd, it became all too apparent that they were here just to get a glimpse of the Fifty Shades of Grey star.
Regardless, Hatton would go on to shoot a course-record equaling 62 on the Old Course and will take a three shot lead into the final day. Hatton has shown his talent throughout the season including two top-ten finishes in the Majors this year. Hatton got off to a flying start, with six birdies on the front nine. Hatton remained remarkable calm throughout the round, perhaps enjoying the fact that the spotlight was on his playing partner Dornan. Hatton finished the round with a delightful approach into the 18th, spinning the ball down the slope to within two feet of the hole. Afterwards, Hatton described: ‘“It’s quite clearly the best round I’ve ever had. I’ve never actually got to double digits under-par before, so I’m very pleased with that.’’ Speaking of his chances tomorrow, he stated: “Obviously I’d love to get a win. I’ll just play my game and see what happens.’’ The Dornan-Hatton partnership currently lies in second place in the team competitions standings.
Ross Fisher continued his challenge with an impressive 69 over at the challenging Carnoustie. Fisher’s golf was clearly a lot better than his attempts at witty humour. In his press conference he stated: “We were all hoping for Car-nicety and not Car-nasty.” Despite his forced puns, Fisher certainly felt that he had been lucky to play the toughest course in benign conditions. I was lucky enough to catch him on his return to St Andrews, where he had sneaked round the masses trying to get a photo with Dornan. He stated: “It seems that people don’t care about the golfers when Jamie is here”. Fisher and his partner will join Hatton and Dornan in the final pair, expected to tee off at 11:47am.
It has been a tough week for Hugh Grant. First, his playing partner David Howell pulled out on the first day due to injury. Grant had initially kept playing alone without a professional partner for three holes until Stuart Manley, the tournament’s first reserve, arrived from St Andrews to take over Howell’s role. However, Grant himself was forced to retire from the tournament himself due to back spasms. Nevertheless, his withdrawal did provide an exciting opportunity for a new competitor to join the field. John Paterson, a 16-year-old student from Madras college was given the opportunity to play, a fortnight after winning the Senior Boys’ category at the Alfred Dunhill Schools Golf Challenge event on the Duke’s Course, St Andrews.
The evening finished with a fireworks display that lit up the St Andrews skyline. Flocks of people ran to the Scores to try and get a better view of the action and they were not disappointed. It was a fitting build up to the final days action with the players fighting out for their share of the $5 million prize fund, one of the biggest on the European Tour. With all the players who made the cut playing at St Andrews, on what is expected to be another day of glorious sunshine, the final day’s action is certainly something that should not be missed.