Easy conditions at St Andrews meant The Old Course was defenceless and the scoring low during the final round of the Dunhill Links Championship.
Tyrell Hatton defended his Dunhill Links Championship title overnight with a three-stroke victory over fellow Englishman Ross Fisher.
But it was Fisher’s final round that had everyone talking as he fired 11 birdies to card a new course record for St Andrew Old Course – an 11-under par 61.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 8, 2017
And despite the magnificent final round, Fisher still left the course a little annoyed because at one stage it looked like he was going to shoot sub-60 around the world’s most famous golf course.
Fisher had already carded his eleven birdies (without a bogey) by the time he walked off the 15th green and everyone was almost expecting a 59. But Fisher could only manage pars on his closing three holes including a great up-and-down at the Road Hole 17th. A three-putt from the fringe of the 18th green saw Fisher etch his name into history, but lamenting what could have been.
“A shame not to birdie the last, a 60, but I’m not going to complain too much with a 61,” fisher said after his round.
Like playing the Old Course on EA Sports PGA Tour, it was defenceless on the final day with very little wind to protect par. Of the 69 professionals in the field, just three carded over-par rounds with the day’s average score at 68.76.
Soon after three-time Open champion Gary Player did some lamenting of his own, taking to Twitter to express both his congratulations to Fisher and despair that the Old Course had been rendered defenceless to the advances of modern technology.
Whilst delighted for all the players, it’s quite sad to see The Old Course of St Andrews brought to her knees by today’s ball & equipment.
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) October 8, 2017
A combination of the modern golf ball, better equipment, finely tuned technology and better athletes are turning many golf tournaments on classic golf courses into pitch-and-putt events. Many golf courses are compensating by lengthening the holes; Augusta National has recently purchased more land for example, with an eye on lengthening the iconic par-5 13th hole.
While the rumblings are getting louder, it may still take a number of low scores around The Old Courses for golf’s governing bodies to consider taking some action.