Every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, even the leaden ones that had rained on the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship parade.

After two days of abandonments and sighing thumb-twiddling, a manic Monday finally produced a winner as Matt Fitzpatrick closed with a six-under 66 over the Old Course for a 19-under tally and a three-shot victory over Matthew Southgate, Marcus Armitage and defending champion, Ryan Fox.

Fitzpatrick’s rise the top of the leaderboard during round two last Friday felt so long ago, you almost expected footage of it to be housed next to the antiquated artefacts in The R&A World Golf Museum.

Yesterday, the Englishman was still at the summit as he finished a trying, tiring contest with a flourish to take the honours in an event reduced to 54-holes due to Mother Nature’s ferocious ire.

Fitzpatrick’s own mother Sue, meanwhile, was in a far brighter mood. Partnering her son in the Pro-Am contest, she helped team Fitzpatrick win that title too despite hirpling and hobbling around the links with a sair knee. The wait was worth it after the wash out.

“She always laughs and jokes, saying ‘we are going win the Dunhill’ and we did’,” said Fitzpatrick, fresh from helping Europe win the Ryder Cup the previous weekend. “There’s only one other person I know who's won a big tournament on one leg and that’s Tiger Woods,” added the Ryder Cup player with a chuckle. “The likeness is uncanny. Tiger’s leg was obviously broken but my mum hasn’t got any cartilage in her knee, so she did amazingly well.”

Endurance was the name of the game in this frustrating, prolonged palaver which was cut to three rounds for the first time in its history. A total of 39 players withdrew or retired before the third round amid the general guddle.

“That might be one of my lowest rounds ever here, if not the lowest,” added Fitzpatrick of his closing 66 on a day of little wind and soft, dartboard-like greens which made the Old Course vulnerable to a low-scoring ambush. “Winning is difficult. I had a chance in Switzerland (at the European Masters) a few weeks ago and that one hurt a lot. But it doesn’t get much better than winning at St Andrews.”

Given the startling volume of rain that had fallen during an unrelenting deluge that had left the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie flooded, it was miraculous that they got play going again. The leaderboard was almost measured in fathoms instead of par.

It was Southgate who made a telling early thrust as he covered his first five holes at the Old Course in five-under to barge his way into the reckoning. Over at Carnoustie, meanwhile, a shotgun start at 11:30, to allow more time for the huge amounts of water to recede, meant that Scotland’s Grant Forrest, one stroke off the lead at halfway, had dropped four shots behind before he’d even teed-off. Forrest would eventually sign for a 71 to share 10th on 13-under.

At the head of affairs, Fitzpatrick began to assert his authority. Two-under for his round after 10 holes, the 2022 US Open champion picked up four birdies on the run-in to pull away from the pack.

With Fox (65) and Southgate (66) unable to reel him in, the 29-year-old then had to wait over an hour to see if anyone could catch him from the later starters at Carnoustie and deny him a ninth DP World Tour win.

Armitage, who had squelched manfully through sodden conditions, was still in with an outside chance but a three-putt bogey on his penultimate hole ended those ambitions. A 66 gave him a share of second and a timely boost after missing eight of his last 10 cuts.

Aberdeen’s David Law packed two eagles into a charging eight-under 64 at Kingsbarns to share 14th on 12-under while Ryder Cup hero Robert MacIntyre signed off with a 65 at the Old Course to finish on the fringes of top-20 with fellow Scots, Calum Hill and Marc Warren.

“I actually went down to Glasgow on Sunday as I thought there would be no way we’d be playing today,” said MacIntyre, who performed a quick U-turn. “I was amazed it was on. It’s a decent result.”

Fitzpatrick’s result was even better.