Hatton holds on as Fisher hits record 61

David Drysdale holes a putt on his way to finishing just three shots off the lead after day two

Hatton made history at St. Andrews by becoming the first player to successfully defend the $5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. "It felt so much harder than previous year".

"Obviously I'm very happy", added Hatton, who took a share of the previous course record of 62 when winning the tournament a year ago. But any time you have a course record, especially on a course like this, it's brilliant.

And Ross Fisher, who won the last of his five European titles in 2014, had six birdies in his final seven holes after starting from the 10th. He just failed to make the green, his ball coming up short in the Valley of Sin. He nearly extended that sequence to six when a birdie putt from off the green on the 16th narrowly missed the hole.

"What a round by Fish", Hatton said.

"It hasn't been the year I wanted, I started the year with grand ambitions of trying to add to my major tally and win tournaments and get back near the top of the world rankings".

"They started taking all the stuff off the leaderboards so I didn't see a leaderboard until the 16th green and saw he was on 21 (under)", Hatton said. He birdied all but two of his outward nine holes and then managed four birdies in succession from the 12th over his inward half.

For Fisher, it is the second year in a row he has finished second at this event and he was four shots clear of Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who carded a 63.

A product of Randpark, Michael was introduced to the game at just three years old by his father and grandfather but played all the sports, and as a youngster achieved provincial colours for soccer and national colours for baseball. "Just reassessing everything and making sure I'm not leaving any stone unturned and do everything I can to get back to [becoming] the best player in the world".

McIlroy now shuts down his season, firstly for a series of tests, including to establish if he is allergic to certain foods, while also allowing a rib injury he sustained 10 months ago to fully heal.

Dubuisson arrived in Scotland looking at returning to the European Tour Qualifying School after a miserable season.

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