Paul Dunne all but retained his European Tour card for next season when he finished tied 25th in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Home of Golf.
Playing what could have been his final event of the season — he’s currently not in the field for next week's British Masters or the Portugal Masters and does not qualify for the WGC - HSBC Champions — Dunne had to make the cut in Scotland to move away from the hot seat of 110th in the Race to Dubai.
He did that in impressive style on Saturday, carving out a superb, six under 66 at Kingsbarns. And he then completed the job on Sunday, closing with a 69 over the Old Course at St Andrews to finish on nine under par and win €41,171.
As a result, the 23-year old is now 99th in the Race to Dubai with €260,793 from 23 starts and considering the man who took the 110th and final card last year made €250,211, Dunne looks home and dry even if he doesn’t get to play at The Grove or in Vilamoura over the next two weeks.
“Really pleased with the weekend's work considering circumstances,” world No 295 Dunne told his Twitter followers after his nine under par weekend. "Thanks to @dunhilllinks again for the opportunity to play! #whataplace”
While Michael Hoey’s missed cut means he needs €200,00 over the next two weeks to keep his card, It was a decent week for the Irish in Scotland.
Graeme McDowell shot a 69 to share 15th and fire three successive sub-70 rounds in a tournament for only the third time in 23 strokeplay starts this year.
The others were the Honda Classic and the Wyndham Championship, where he was fifth on both occasions, and he will be hoping to do something similar in the British Masters.
Ranked 81st in the world, McDowell needs a big finish to the season to get back into the top 50 and remain at golf’s top table.
While his PGA Tour card is secure thanks to his win in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba nearly 11 months ago, he needs to up the ante to make sure he’s playing the majors and can put himself in position, not just to add to his 2010 US Open win, but to contend for a 2018 Ryder Cup place in Paris, where he has won twice.
The mission is the same for Shane Lowry, who is 41st in the world and in need of a confidence boost after clearly going through a tough patch following his US Open disappointment.
His four-shot advantage at Oakmont was the biggest 54-hole lead not to end up in a tournament win in the US this season.
So an immaculate six under 66 for a share of 18th (his fifth best of the season) can only be good for the 29-year old’s psyche ahead of the British Masters.
The cheque for €49,917 also took Lowry over the €1 million barrier in European Tour earnings for a season the third year in a row.
The Alfred Dunhill Links went to Tyrrell Hatton, who claimed his maiden European Tour win when he fired seven birdies and a solitary bogey in a 66 to claim a four-shot victory and €711,073.
The 24-year old Englishman produced a stunning third round 62 to equal the course record at St Andrews, setting up with a healthy three shot lead, before posting an impressive final round to finish on 23 under par.
Fellow countryman Ross Fisher and South Africa's Richard Sterne finished in a tie for second on 19 under, with Swede Joakim Lagergren two strokes back, one shot ahead of Scot Marc Warren on 16 under.
Hatton got off to a strong start in the final round, the 24 year old rolling in his birdie putt from six feet at the third before draining a 25-foot putt at the next to pick up another shot. He dropped one shot for the day at the 17th, but was able to steady and coolly sink his par putt at the last to seal victory.
Master’s champion Danny Willett and his caddie Jonathan Smart won the Team Championship at 38 under, with Adrian Meronk and Johan Eliasch one shot off the pace.
“It feels amazing. I've wanted this moment since I was a six-year-old walking around Wentworth. It's incredible.
“I was quite nervous for the majority of the round but I played really solid today and holed some good putts, and that kept the momentum going. That was key to winning this week.
“It makes it special and to do it at the Home of Golf is fantastic. Hopefully I can have a good end to the year now.
“One of my goals was to get inside the Top-50 in the world. I think I was 53rd coming into this week, and I look forward to hearing from my manager John, he sends me a message every Monday morning when the World Rankings come out of what position I am. So I look forward to that text tomorrow, and hopefully I can have a great end to the year and try and climb even higher.”
“It was always going to be tough. Starting the day three behind I think I was, I needed to put pressure on Tyrrell but unfortunately my game is just not quite as solid as the first three days. Obviously a pleasure to witness a good friend's first victory and what a place to do it.
“It's been two really good weeks consecutively, so a lot of momentum, a lot of positives, and yeah, just taking it one tournament at a time.”
'I tried my best to put some pressure on Tyrrell but he got off to a good start and kept it going, which is good. It's a big win and it's going to be a special win for him here at the Old Course.
“I was quite relaxed. I putted really nicely and that was the difference. The last few weeks, I really putted decently and made the par saves at the right time and a couple good birdie putts. I was hitting the ball nicely and consistent, which obviously helps to give me more birdie putts.”
“It's been great fun. You don't see it from that perspective a lot, especially John, he's a lot more from the other side and to be under pressure and him to be able to hole a putt, it's a complete different role. I'm glad we've had the week we've had. It's been brilliant.”
265 T Hatton (Eng) 67 70 62 66,
269 R Sterne (RSA) 69 69 65 66, R Fisher (Eng) 65 68 69 67,
271 J Lagergren (Swe) 66 68 69 68,
272 M Warren (Sco) 72 66 67 67,
273 M Kaymer (Ger) 71 68 65 69,
275 R Paratore (Ita) 71 70 66 68, S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 68 67 69, F Fritsch (Ger) 68 71 65 71, B Wiesberger (Aut) 73 66 69 67,
276 D Horsey (Eng) 72 69 66 69, A Noren (Swe) 64 71 73 68, L Jensen (Den) 71 69 66 70, B Dredge (Wal) 69 72 68 67,
277 T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 67 70 68, J Kruger (RSA) 68 68 75 66, Graeme McDowell (Nir) 74 67 67 69,
278 M Ilonen (Fin) 73 71 67 67, R Wattel (Fra) 78 66 68 66, R Bland (Eng) 70 69 70 69, G Havret (Fra) 76 67 70 65, N Fasth (Swe) 72 69 68 69, Shane Lowry (Irl) 72 68 72 66, J Zunic (Aus) 70 71 67 70,
279 G Storm (Eng) 71 72 69 67, G Coetzee (RSA) 72 69 69 69, C Lee (Sco) 69 73 69 68, P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 73 66 69, Paul Dunne (Irl) 72 72 66 69, J Ahlers (RSA) 70 71 69 69,
280 A Wall (Eng) 71 69 70 70, T Van Der Walt (RSA) 74 70 67 69, N Colsaerts (Bel) 71 70 70 69, F Zanotti (Par) 72 70 71 67, R Rock (Eng) 70 73 68 69, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 70 68 72, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 66 74 67,
281 J Morrison (Eng) 71 74 67 69, S Gallacher (Sco) 70 75 68 68, C Shinkwin (Eng) 67 74 69 71,
282 A Cañizares (Esp) 68 72 71 71, R Karlberg (Swe) 68 71 72 71, G Forrest (Sco) 73 72 66 71, B Virto (Esp) 71 69 68 74, G Bourdy (Fra) 69 74 70 69, P Hanson (Swe) 71 69 71 71,
283 D Drysdale (Sco) 72 72 68 71, B Evans (Eng) 72 70 71 70, A Dodt (Aus) 70 70 70 73,
284 J Quesne (Fra) 72 69 69 74, T Pieters (Bel) 70 68 73 73, T Olesen (Den) 73 72 68 71,
285 R Dinwiddie (Eng) 73 68 70 74, Y Yang (Kor) 71 69 73 72, M Guyatt (Aus) 69 74 69 73, R Karlsson (Swe) 71 71 69 74, R West (RSA) 69 73 71 72, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 71 68 75,
287 E Van Rooyen (RSA) 72 69 72 74,
289 U Van Den Berg (RSA) 69 69 74 77, M Ford (Eng) 66 72 74 77,
291 M Siem (Ger) 77 68 67 79.