BIRTHDAY CHEERS ON THE OLD COURSE FOR  ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPION DANNY WILLETT
• Willett holds on for a famous victory with a classy 68 at St Andrews
• ‘It's nice that the Championship is back, and it's a big one’ says Willett
• Maeve Danaher becomes first female winner of Team Championship with former Alfred Dunhill Links champion Michael Hoey
• Amateurs join professionals in a celebration of Links golf at its finest
ST ANDREWS, October 3, 2021 - The champagne corks popped as Danny Willett celebrated his 34th birthday with one of the biggest wins of his career, the 20th Anniversary Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
The former Masters and Alfred Dunhill Team champion, most recently winner of the 2019 BMW PGA, shot a 68 on the Old Course for an 18-under-par total to win by two from Joakim Lagergren, who had a 66 and Tyrrell Hatton, 67.
He narrowly missed making it a spectacular double celebration with victory in the Team Championship with American amateur partner Jimmy Dunne, when his final putt slipped by the hole. The Irish team of Michael Hoey and Maeve Danaher, the first female to win the title, held on for a memorable triumph.    
Danny said: “It's been a good week. I had a great partner in Jimmy. Things have been good. I've always said if I get a bit of a sniff, I'm usually all right. And today was a nice example of that. Scoring was pretty low on that front nine, and we were able to fend off a few guys and play really solidly on the back nine.
“Jimmy is a great guy. He's a great golfer. And we just had a great week, seeing all the guys. I haven't done this format for two years now. So, it's nice that the Championship is back on, and it's lovely. It’s a big one.
“It's been a relatively average year till this. Fingers crossed now we've got six or seven events left till we put the clubs down at Christmas, so hopefully we can push on a bit from this,” he added.
Willett’s was a mature performance. Starting the day three ahead, he did not panic early on when the birdies did not come and challengers lined up to try to catch him, most noticeably Richard Bland who was level with him when he birdied the 9th hole.
But Willett struck crucial birdies of his own at the 9th and 10th to maintain his control of the Championship and by the time he reached the decisive last few holes, only Sweden’s Lagergren was in a position to catch him.
Lagergren, however, could not find the birdies he needed to put pressure on Willett, who maintained the calm approach that had been such a feature of his day, with pars on the last eight holes.
It was his eighth European Tour victory, and he wins a first prize of £578,000 (US$783,000). He is the seventh English winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links, joining Lee Westwood (2003), Nick Dougherty (2007), Simon Dyson (2009), David Howell (2013), Oliver Wilson (2014) and Tyrrell Hatton (2016 and 17).
Maeve Danaher, a left-hander who putts right-handed, has a 22 handicap and plays most of her golf at Adare Manor in County Limerick, the host course for the 2027 Ryder Cup. She is from the Republic of Ireland while Hoey, the Alfred Dunhill Links winner in 2011, is from Northern Ireland.
For Danaher the sweetest part about the win was that she beat her husband, Gerry McManus, who had also qualified for the Championship’s final day in partnership with 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry.
It also continued a remarkable family run of success in this event, with Gerry’s brother JP McManus a two-time team competition winner in 2002 and 2006 and JP’s son, Kieran McManus, the holder of a record three team titles in 2009, 2014 and 2017.
Gerry McManus and his fellow Irishman Lowry finished in equal fifth place with a four-round team score of 32-under-par and Danaher said: “Gerry and I had a little bet on the first day to see who could get the best score, so I’ve won that! And that’s really pleasing!
“But it is absolutely amazing to win this competition, in such an exciting finish, and I am especially happy for Michael. He is an absolute rock, he’s fantastic. I wish he could have won the individual event too, but hopefully he’ll get an individual win again soon.”
Hoey, 42, now ranked a lowly 546th in the world and playing most of his golf on the Challenge Tour, won US$50,000 for the team win, plus another US$49,000 for finishing 24th in the individual tournament, and said: “I knew there was a bit of money on my last putt on the 18th, but I was trying not to think about that.”
But perhaps the last word should go to Billy Horschel Snr., father of popular US Tour player Billy Horschel, who finished on eight-under-par for the tournament with a last day 70, in the team event. The Horschels ended with a team score of 24-under, rounding off a special week for Billy Snr., who celebrated his 70th birthday on October 1 and was presented with a bottle of champagne by Alfred Dunhill following his second round at Kingsbarns.
“Everyone running this tournament has treated me like family all week and that is what I have appreciated so much,” he said. “The camaraderie of the tournament has also been memorable for me, with all the teams I played with encouraging each other. The whole experience for me here has been simply unforgettable.”
FIREWORKS ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT SKY AS ALFRED DUNHILL CELEBRATES THE AMATEURS ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN ST ANDREWS
WILLETT CHASING DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION IN 20th ANNIVERSARY ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS

• Former Masters champion Willett’s 66 on the Old Course gives him three shot lead ahead of final round at St Andrews
• Willett and Jimmy Dunne also share lead with Ewen Ferguson and Brad Simpson in Team Championship
• ‘It’s great to have the fans and the Dunhill Links back’ says Willett
• Amateurs join professionals in a celebration of Links golf at its finest
ST ANDREWS, October 2, 2021 - The stage is set for an enthralling climax in the final round of a thrilling Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, with the burning question being: can anyone stop Danny Willett winning on his 34th birthday?
The 2016 Masters and Alfred Dunhill Links Team Champion opened up a three-shot lead after a classic round in wet conditions, with six birdies and no bogeys, for a peerless 66 on the Old Course, to reach 14-under-par.
It could be a double celebration tomorrow. With his partner Jimmy Dunne, he is also joint leader of the Team Championship, tied on 27-under-par with Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson and Vamps lead singer Brad Simpson.
Afterwards Willett thanked the Scottish galleries who turned up to watch. “It’s great to have the fans back, and to have the Dunhill Links format back, we missed it last year. I think it’s great to have everyone here. We’re getting cheered on. Great to be back on British soil.”
Back to his full powers after an operation in the summer for appendicitis, Willett said: “Another 18 holes to go, we’ll see how we do. 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 the last six holes.”
For much of the afternoon it looked as if Willett might be sharing the lead with fellow Englishman Daniel Gavins, but, on the 16th at Kingsbarns, he hit his ball on to the beach and dropped a shot, following it with double bogeys at the 17th and 18th to drop back to ten-under-par.
The chasing pack on 11-under-par who will be fighting to catch Willett today are overnight leader Tyrrell Hatton and Richard Bland from England and Ireland’s Shane Lowry and John Murphy.  
With four birdies in the first five holes, it looked as if Hatton was well on his way to a much longed for record third Alfred Dunhill Links title, but bogeys at the 13th,14th and 15th derailed him and he finished with a disappointing 71. Bland had a sparkling 64 at St Andrews, with Lowry and Murphy both shooting 67.
One of the highlights of an exciting day of golf was a hole-in-one by former NFL star Ahmad Rashad.
Once he realised he had made a hole-in-one on the 15th at Kingsbarns, he knew the one person he wanted to tell about it was Tiger Woods. Sometimes it helps to have the greatest player of the modern era on speed dial.
“The first thing I did was text Tiger!” said a delighted Rashad after completing his round. “He is a dear friend of mine and I wanted to let him know. He got back straight away – all he said was: ‘Well, I guess that means you’re buying.”
With the wind whipping up and the North Sea only a few metres to his right, Rashad lined up his shot. “It was 176-yards. I took my 7-iron out because of how windy it was,” he said. “I’ve played the hole before and didn’t hit it far enough, but this time I hit it right at the pin. It took one bounce and went in, but I wasn’t sure from where I was. Then everyone went crazy!”
Rashad played in the NFL Pro Bowl four times in the 1970s and 80s and is one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the Minnesota Vikings. He executed one of the most celebrated plays in American Football when he caught a last-second Hail Mary pass to take the Vikings to the 1980 play-offs. After his athletic career he became a leading broadcaster, crossing over to focus mainly on the NBA.
*During the round, play stopped on all three courses for a minute’s silence to remember the victims of the Covid-19
DANNY WILLETT KEEPS THE PRESSURE ON AS HATTON TOPS THE LEADERBOARD
 •  Two-time champion Hatton shoots 70 in the wind at Kingsbarns, but
        Willett cuts back the deficit with a 69
     •  England’s Daniel Gavins second after a battling 68 at Carnoustie
     •  Willett and Jonathan Smart also share lead in Team Championship
     •  Amateurs join top professionals in celebration of Links golf at its finest
ST ANDREWS, October 1, 2021 - Tyrrell Hatton continues to set the pace in search of an unprecedented third Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but Danny Willett is one of several dangerous rivals in pursuit – and the former Masters champion also has a share of the lead in the Team Championship.

Everything seems to be going according to plan for Hatton, but the competition is beginning to hot up.

Willett edged a shot nearer with a 69 to Hatton’s 70 at Kingsbarns in the second round, but he still remains two shots behind as the two Englishmen go into the third round on the Old Course.

Also very much in the mix are England’s Daniel Gavins, who shot an impressive 68 at Carnoustie to be on his own in second place on nine-under-par, while China’s Haotong Li is on eight-under-par alongside Willett, after a 72 on the Old Course.
On a day of winds gusting up to 30mph, scoring was significantly lower and any round under par was worth its weight in gold.

Willett, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Team Championship in 2016 playing with Jonathan Smart, who is caddying for him here, said: “I feel like we got a nice amount out of that round. It's tough out there. It’s nice coming in here, having shot five-under-par in the first round.”
He says he is looking forward to St Andrews. “Yes, I love the golf course. The pins are very similar year-on-year, so fingers crossed. We’ve got lucky so far, 36 holes, and hopefully another 36 with the wind and no rain.”
Hatton agreed it was tough. “I'm happy with how I scored. It was quite easy to make mistakes. Very easy to hit bad shots. I guess I was fortunate at times when I did hit a bad shot, I didn't end up in too much of a dodgy position. I had a couple of three-putts today, but that’s easy to do with the wind.”

Daniel Gavins, 30, had probably the toughest task of the leaders, having to play Carnoustie in the challenging wind, but he showed admirable patience. The highlight of his round was an eagle at the ‘Spectacles’ par five, 14th hole. Gavins is enjoying a good year after his first European Tour victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational.
It was a doubly successful day for Willett as he and his amateur partner Jimmy Dunne share the lead in the Team Championship with Oliver Fisher and Manish Chopra on 18-under-par.
TYRRELL HATTON’S EYES ON A HAT-TRICK IN 20th ANNIVERSARY ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS

 • Two-time champion Hatton shoots 64 at Carnoustie to share lead with Adri Arnaus, Nicolas Colsaerts and Haotong Li
• Vamps Brad hits the right notes in Team Championship
• Championship dates: Thursday, September 30 - Sunday, October 3
Two-time champion Tyrrell Hatton staked his claim for a record third title after an explosive 64 at Carnoustie in the first round of the 20th Anniversary Alfred Dunhill Links. 
He shares the lead with Spain’s Adri Arnaus, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and China’s Haotong Li.
Scotland’s young hope Ewen Ferguson is one shot further back after a 65, along with France’s Romain Langasque and 2011 winner Michael Hoey, while double runner-up and current Team Champion Tommy Fleetwood was among those on 66.
On a day of exuberant low scoring, the golfers showed how delighted they were to be back in action at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns after missing out last year.
Having played at the more difficult Carnoustie, Hatton is hoping to make further strides towards a record third Championship at Kingsbarns today. And he will be doing it alongside his proud dad Jeff, pictured above, who encouraged him to play the game and is his coach.
Hatton, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2016 and 2017, said: “It was good. I didn’t make a bogey. It’s always nice to start pretty good around Carnoustie. You go to the other ones and feel you’ve got more of a chance, so we'll see what the week brings.”
The highlight of Hatton’s round was a stunning back nine 29. Tyrrell said: “I didn't actually realise it till I signed my card. Obviously we needed a big back nine and I was very happy with the putter. Hopefully that continues.”
Hatton says he isn’t currently getting any coaching from Jeff. “He hasn't looked at my swing or anything. I think he's a bit too excited to play these courses for the first time. I imagine he's probably quite tired. He normally plays once every six weeks. But I think he enjoyed it and we'll have a good day at Kingsbarns.”
Jeff said: “I’ve never played golf anywhere in Scotland before, so getting Carnoustie first up was a whole different experience. I’ve never seen any course like it – all you can see is bunkers!”
The two Hattons lie in joint third place on 11-under-par in the Team Championship with a betterball score of 61, a shot behind leaders Ewen Ferguson & Brad Simpson and Danny Willett & Jimmy Dunne.
Brad Simpson went from the top of the charts to the top of the leaderboard on the first day of the Championship.
Before arriving at St Andrews, Simpson had only just finished a nine-date tour of the UK to promote his band's latest album, Cherry Blossom.
After walking off the iconic 18th hole at the Old Course, Simpson had to take a moment to gaze at the scoreboard and appreciate the first time he actually saw his name at the top of the standings.
“That was mad. It was amazing to see – I guess I got lucky with a few shots!" he said.
Simpson was also quick to pay tribute to team-mate Ferguson, after watching the Scotsman card a bogey-free 65.
He said: "I really enjoyed it, and it was great playing with Ewen. Playing with a good guy like him instantly relaxes you and we had a good thing going.
"He’s got a great mindset and his approach to the game is so positive. It's good to see more young guys coming through with stable heads on their shoulders. And Ewen was rattling the ball today, hitting it so well."
As the Championship celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the rock star said it was a privilege to be part of such a historic occasion.
He said: “It’s an honour to be involved in the anniversary. There are some great players here and it’s also an honour to rub shoulders with them, see them play and witness it first-hand. That's always one of the best parts of it.”
ANDY GARCIA, WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, JOE ROOT TO PLAY IN 20th ANNIVERSARY ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS
Javier Ballesteros follows in the steps of his much loved father Seve on the Old Course ten years after his tragic death
Championship dates: Thursday, September 30 - Sunday, October 3
Amateurs join top professionals in celebration of Links golf at its finest
ST ANDREWS, September 27, 2021 – Hollywood super star Andy Garcia, former boxing world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and English cricket captain Joe Root are among the latest amateurs to confirm they are taking part in this week’s 20th Anniversary Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.
Also playing in the prestigious event are AC Milan and Chelsea football star Andriy Shevchenko, seven-time world snooker champion Stephen Hendry and former England cricketers Michael Vaughan and Darren Gough.
The professional line-up this week includes European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, three of his players, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry, and vice-captains Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.