Danny Willett in pole position to win Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Danny Willett carded a bogey-free 66 at St Andrews to put himself on track for the perfect birthday celebration at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The 2016 Masters champion turns 34 on Sunday and after battling some torrential rain during round three at the Old Course, he will take a three-shot lead into the final day in Scotland at 14 under.
Ryder Cup stars Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry were showing no hangover from Europe’s 19-9 hammering at the hands of the United States last week, sitting in a tie for second alongside England’s Richard Bland and Irishman John Murphy, with players from the British Isles taking up seven spots in the top 10.
Willett was a Ryder Cup player the year he won the green jacket but then dropped down to 462nd in the world before winning two of the European Tours elite Rolex Series events in 2018 and 2019.
This season has seen him struggle with Covid-19, wisdom teeth, appendicitis and a hernia, and he has once again dropped down the rankings to world number 170.
But after making three birdies in favourable conditions on the front nine and then three more battling wind and rain on the way home, he could be set to once again complete a remarkable comeback.
“Early on we had a decent bit of wind. Downwind you always feel like you should take some of your chances,” said Willett.
“You need to drive it close and as soon as you get on the 12th tee you know you’ve got pretty tough conditions coming straight into the wind on them last six holes.
“But we played them in two under so we’re gaining – really hit it good on them last six and gained a lot of shots coming in doing that.”
Englishman Hatton is a two-time winner of this event and he held a four-shot lead after making four birdies in a row from the second but he recorded a hat-trick of bogeys from the 13th to card a 71.
Ireland’s Lowry – the 2019 Open champion – also made four birdies in a row from the second in a 67 – a score matched by bogey-free Murphy – while Bland carded an eagle and seven birdies in a 64.
England’s Daniel Gavins had led the way at 15 under but dropped five shots in his last three holes at Kingsbarns to sit in the group at 10 under, a shot clear of Scot Ewen Ferguson.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.