ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood broke the course record at Carnoustie by shooting 9-under 63 to tie for the lead with defending champion Tyrrell Hatton after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Friday.
Hatton also tamed the tough Open venue, shooting 65 to move to 11 under par for the tournament. The English golfers were a stroke clear of Nicolas Colsaerts, and two ahead of Paul Dunne and Marcel Siem.
Playing his first event since becoming a father for the first time last week, Fleetwood birdied six of the last eight holes to complete a bogey-free round and beat the course record by a shot.
Carnoustie is regarded as the most difficult of the three courses that stage the tournament. Kingsbarns and the Old Course at St. Andrews are the others, with players alternating between the three in the first three rounds before playing at St. Andrews again for the final round.
Fleetwood holds a big lead in the Race to Dubai rankings despite playing in only one of the last seven tournaments on the European Tour. This season, he has won the Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open, finished second at a World Golf Championship in Mexico, and placed fourth at the U.S. Open.
He has three top-five finishes at the Dunhill Links, which he says is one of his favorite events.
Hatton followed up a 68 at the Old Course with an even better round at Carnoustie, featuring birdies on four of the last six holes – including chipping in at the par-3 16th.
Winning the Dunhill Links, amid a strong finish to last season, helped lift Hatton to No. 14 in the world ranking. He made just two cuts in nine events from the Masters to the U.S. PGA Championship this year, but has back-to-back top 10s since.
Colsaerts has had consecutive 67s, at Kingsbarns then the Old Course.
Rory McIlroy shot a 71 at Carnoustie and was even par after two rounds. Eleven shots off the lead, McIlroy is likely to finish a season without a victory for just the second time in his pro career.