Tyrrell Hatton holds off Ross Fisher to retain St Andrews title

Tyrrell Hatton defended his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title after posting a score of 24-under. Warren Little/Getty Images

Tyrrell Hatton defended his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title at St Andrews after a final-round 66 secured a 3-shot victory.

Defending champion Hatton, who began the day with a 5-shot lead, held off the late challenge of Ross Fisher, whose brilliant 61 set a course record, and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson to become the first man to retain the crown.

Hatton, 25, opened up a 7-shot lead with four birdies on the front nine and gained a further shot on the 14th -- he dropped only 2 shots during the tournament -- to finish three ahead of fellow Englishman Fisher for his second European Tour title.

"Obviously I'm very happy," added Hatton, who took a share of the previous course record of 62 when winning the tournament last year.

"This week was the first time I had ever defended a title or had the chance to try and do it.

"You know, it felt like it was a lot harder this year, well, winning this year, than it was last year. I'm so happy that I managed to get over the line."

Fisher, who played himself into contention by gaining 6 shots in his last seven holes on Saturday, maintained his sizzling form by threatening to close with a record-breaking 59.

Fisher carded seven birdies on the front nine and hit four more successive birdies from the 12th to stand at 11-under, but fell short of the magical figure as he parred the final three holes.

"I'm gutted I missed that one at the last, but it was one of those days," Fisher told Sky Sports.

"I felt like I saw the lines on the greens, had a really good score and knew obviously I was playing for second because Tyrrell was almost too far in front.

"But to go out and shoot a score like that, with no bogeys, I just saw the lines and was hitting good putts and they were going in and I didn't want it to end."

Dubuisson had also set himself up for a chance of a course record with three holes to play, having carded 10 birdies to stand 10 under after the 15th, but he 3-putted the 16th to drop his first shot of the day and parred the last two holes for a 9-under-par 63.

Scotland's Marc Warren and England's Robert Rock both carded final-round 66s to tie for fourth place with Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, who shot a 71 after starting the day as Hatton's closest challenger.