THE final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship was going to be one of the biggest reeling in jobs since Chief Brodie and his motley crew tried to hook Jaws. In the end, nobody could catch Tyrrell Hatton but, rather appropriately for this woefully contrived intro, a man named Fisher gave it a right good go.

On a benign day in Fife, which lowered the Old Course’s defences and left it ruthlessly exposed to a fearsome and relentless barrage, Ross Fisher set a new record low of 11-under 61 as he tried manfully to overhaul Hatton’s five shot overnight lead.

The Englishman actually had a raking eagle putt on the 18th for a historic 59 but, with a certain degree of anti-climax, he would take three stabs for a par. Perhaps the ghost of that celebrated custodian of the cherished links, Old Tom Morris, had a wee say in that one?

It was still a terrific effort from Fisher, who finished runner-up for the second year in row. Behind him on the course, Hatton was coasting along as he became the first player to successfully defend the Dunhill Links title.

A tidy, controlled six-under 66, his third successive round this week without a dropped shot, gave him a 24-under aggregate of 264 and a three-stroke victory over the charging Fisher.

Given the way Hatton had been playing during the week, his five shot advantage looked pretty safe. Then again, Colin Montgomerie came from five behind to win the title back in 2005 while two winners on the European Tour this season were seven strokes behind after 54-holes.

The chasing pack were given a little glimmer of hope when Hatton dumped his approach at the first into the burn. You knew it was going to be Hatton’s day, though, when he chipped in to save his par. From there, he birdied his next four holes to fortify his stronghold at the top of the leaderboard and keep Fisher at bay.

“This was always going to be harder than winning last year because I’d never defended a title before,” said Hatton who earned a whopping cheque for £594,500.

“I didn’t see a leaderboard until the 16th and I saw Ross had got to 21-under. That was incredible golf and it certainly made my 15 minute wait on the 17th a bit harder. I got over the line, though.”

For Scotsman Marc Warren, meanwhile, the Dunhill Links proved once again to be a very accommodating home from home. A closing 66 for a 14-under total left him in a share of fourth as he racked up his third top five in this lucrative event in recent seasons.

From facing a grim fight to hold on to his tour card just a couple of weeks ago, a resurgent Warren, who is now clear of the injury which hindered much of his season, has earned almost £420,000 from his last three events to propel himself up to 56th on the Race to Dubai.

This was the Glasgow man’s eighth event in a row but there won’t be much rest both on and off the course.

“I’m at the hospital at 6.45 on Monday morning as my wife is expecting our second child,” said Warren who will then head off to Milan for the big-money bonanza of the $7 million Italian Open.

“This is a great time of the year to be hitting form as there is still so much to gained from the season with big events coming up,” added Warren, who kick-started his campaign with a second in the Portugal Masters and followed that up with a 15th in the British Masters last weekend before notching a top-five yesterday to leap up the money list from a lowly 173rd.

Down near the foot of the standings, Rory McIlroy signed off from a frustrating 2017 with a level-par 72 for a four-under total in his final event of the year.