Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood broke a 23 year old course record at Carnoustie Golf Links to storm into a share of the halfway lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, joining the defending champion Tyrrell Hatton at the top.
A nine under par 63 at the famously tough links venue meant Fleetwood set a new record, bettering the 64 set by Scot Alan Tait back in 1994 which was subsequently matched by eight others.
The 26 year old from Southport, who became a father for the first time last week, moved to an eleven under par total as he chases a third European Tour title of the season.
Hatton, meanwhile, is now 34 under par in his last six rounds at the unique pro-am event which takes place over three different famous links courses, having won for his first and only European Tour title last year with a score of 23 under.
Seven birdies and a flawless 65, also at Carnoustie, moved him to the top before his sterling efforts were outdone by those of his compatriot Fleetwood. Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium was in outright second place on ten under after The 2012 Ryder Cup star carded a five under 67 at St Andrews Old Course, despite a double-bogey.
Tommy Fleetwood: “It (Carnoustie course record) sounds good, doesn’t it? You don’t really think too much about it whilst you’re playing, and to hole that one on the last for a course record, all in all, it was a good day’s work, wasn’t it!
“Any time you have a course record, especially on a golf course like this, it’s brilliant to have. I’m very proud at the moment. When I turned up this week, I hadn’t been practising whilst I was at home, so I had a week where I didn’t do anything and that week feels like a year when you’re in the middle of it.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I come on the range on Tuesday. I hit it alright but yesterday, I played okay, but I really enjoyed being back in competition where every shot counts.
“I would love to win a tournament. I’d love to win this tournament. So the goal every week is to try and win whatever you’re playing in. With such big events coming up, I don’t think anything will be over with the Race to Dubai until it’s finally done. But if I can keep making that cushion a little bit bigger, then it will feel a lot nicer.”
Tyrrell Hatton: “I’m happy with today’s round. I got lucky a couple of times, but obviously you need that. The putter came alive for me on the last 13 holes or so. It’s a really good day and very happy.
“It’s a strange feeling to think I’ve won the tournament, because when I look back, it doesn’t feel like it was me that won.
“Obviously it’s great to be back and I have good memories from last year. I’ve come into this event with a bit of form. I’m happy that I’m carrying it on. Hopefully I can have a good one at Kingsbarns tomorrow, and it’ll be all to play for on Sunday. But there’s still a lot of golf still to be played.
“I’ll go out there tomorrow and hopefully the conditions are good again, and if I play like I have been, there’s no reason I can’t shoot a good one.”
Nicolas Colsaerts: “I played pretty well all day. I started off really good, didn’t do any stupid stuff. I made one bad swing, one bad shot on the first, made double and bounced back right again just like I did yesterday. So I kept my momentum, which was good, and I rolled a few ones in on the front nine, which was my back nine.
“But I had a good flow, even though it was getting really cold at the end. I think maybe I had a little bit of fortune with the wind because it kind of switched a little bit, and we didn’t have the last nine into the wind as much as the guys had this morning.
“Carnoustie is probably a bit more demanding in every aspect, but I’m in a position I like. I’ve played well for two rounds and I should play well at Carnoustie. It’s probably the fairest of all.”
Paul Dunne: “I struggled through the first five but got it around at even par, and from the sixth I started to hit it well. I started to play the golf I’ve been playing over the last couple of weeks and it was pretty stress-free.
“I was hitting a lot of greens, getting the ball in play off the tee, giving myself a lot of chances. I bogeyed 17, but it’s playing tough – it’s a tough finish here. So to play the last three in level par, I would have taken that on the 16th tee. My game is feeling good and hopefully I can make a few birdies at Kingsbarns tomorrow. This is the first time I’ve broken par here at Carnoustie, so it’s pretty good.”
Marcel Siem: “It’s always a big goal to have a low round in St Andrews, such a special place. I’m really pleased to be up on the leaderboard. We’ll see what happens in the next few days.
“At Carnoustie, you have two or three shots which are really scary, and you have to get your head around those ones, but then you have a lot of birdie chances there as well. The greens are beautiful. I think if you have a good putting day, you can roll in a lot of putts. For me, it is the best golf course. I love Carnoustie, and I’m really looking forward to that.”