Friday, 19 March 2010
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Round One  (Getty Images)
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Round One (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher and Soren Hansen both fired blistering rounds of 64 to stride to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Fisher, who like Hansen was playing the Kingsbarns course in the tournament that also features the Old Course at St Andrews and Carnoustie, rattled in seven birdies, an eagle and just one bogey to end the day atop the leaderboard on eight under par.

“It's a lovely setting here at Kingsbarns, the weather was just perfect,” said a delighted Fisher.

“To take advantage of a day like this was just great and to do it in the fashion that I did with a 64, was very, very pleasing. I'm off to a great start but there is long way to go.”

The Englishman was joined by Ryder Cup player Hansen, who was in similar form and captured an identical eagle, seven birdies and a bogey from his round.

The Dane was understandably ecstatic after finishing four under par in his last three holes, and said: “It was one of those situations where you look at the leaderboard and say “what happened there”?

“It was a very good finish but I had played well all day, and we were playing in very good conditions.”

Martin Kaymer also enjoyed a productive day on a Kingsbarns course suited to low scoring as he carded a seven under par round of 65 that handed him outright third place.

The young German recorded eight birdies and a single bogey to sit behind Fisher, and will no doubt be disappointed to have three putted for par after reaching the green in two on the 558 yard par five ninth hole, his 18th.

Also joining Kaymer in the upper reaches of the leaderboard was Jarmo Sandelin, whose six under par at Kingsbarns gave him a share of forth along with a pack of nine other players.

Sandelin was one of the early pacesetters after completing his first four holes in four under par, and revealed he was more than happy after eventually firing two more birdies and finishing with a bogey free round.

“I am currently 125th in The Order of Merit so this is potentially a huge week for me in terms of retaining my card for next year. I had a great start and it puts me in an excellent position for the sort of finish that would easily secure my card,” he said.

The Swede, whose last win on The European Tour came back at the BMW Asian Open in 2002, was one of six players to complete the Kingsbarns course in 66 while Marcus Fraser, Marc Warren and Grégory Bourday recorded the same score after playing the Old Course at St Andrews.

Thomas Levet carded the lowest score at Carnoustie, the last of the three courses being used for The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, to sit further back in a tie for 13th on five under par.

“I had a great round today,” said the Frenchman.

“I hit the ball pretty solidly off the tee and had a lot of birdie putts early on when I made four in a row. To shoot 67 at Carnoustie - I'm very happy with that because it's a monster of a course.”

Levet, who managed six birdies and one bogey overall, was joined on five under by - among others - European Tour Order of Merit Leader Padraig Harrington, Ryder Cup player Robert Karlsson and two-time Major winner Retief Goosen.

Harrington notched up seven birdies and a brace of bogeys in a mixed round - the Irishman was level par after 12 holes only to rattle off five birdies in the last six holes - while Karlsson and Goosen both racked up six birdies offset by a solitary bogey.

“It was an interesting day but I really enjoyed it,” admitted Harrington.

“Any time you birdie five of the last six holes, the chances are you're going to shoot pretty low. I`m pleased because the organisers do a great job and this is one of my favourite events of the whole year.”

Phillip Archer and Scott Drummond, who both played the Old Course at St Andrews, were joined by José-Filipe Lima to make up the group of players in a tie for 13th, with a further 24 players just a shot behind on four under par.

In the team event running concurrently, two partnerships shared the lead on 12 under par 60 after the first round; professional Marcus Fraser of Australia and his amateur partner Stephen Trickey, a California-based company director, alongside French professional Gregory Bourdy and his amateur partner Patrick Elsmie, the managing director of The Gleneagles Hotel.

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