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

Martin Kaymer admitted it was tough going at Carnoustie today after he and Jarmo Sandelin tied at the top of the leaderboard on six under par after three rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Strong winds and cold conditions saw most of the field struggle around The Old Course at St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.

But Kaymer and Sandelin produced rounds of 73 and 72 respectively at Carnoustie to open a one shot lead over Magnus Carlsson.

German Kaymer had reached seven under par on Thursday with an opening 65 at Kingsbarns and he lay second overnight after a 72 at St Andrews.

He bogeyed the par three eighth today at Carnoustie but a birdie at the ninth took him back to seven under at the turn.

He suffered three bogeys on the back nine at the 12th, 15th and 16th but birdies in between at the 13th and 14th saw him produce a respectable one over total for the day.

“I think it was the toughest day out there today,” he said.

“I mean we are playing the toughest course and it was the worst weather this week so I think everything around par and even two or three over par is a pretty solid round today.

“Most of the holes are into the wind and they are quite long. Even when you have a six or seven iron into the green, even then it is a tough shot, you have to hit it low otherwise it goes up and you are 20 yards short and then you have a long putt which is not nice to have here.”

Sweden’s Sandelin went one better with a 72, which included just two birdies and two bogeys.

A dropped shot at the second was atoned for immediately at the 358 yard third and is birdie at the par five 14th was cancelled out with a bogey at the 16th.

“I am very, very happy indeed,” he said. “It is a long time ago that I was in the leading group on the last day and my last Tour win was six years ago now.

“Why am I playing so well this week? I’m just feeling so relaxed – perhaps it’s the format of the competition that is helping because my amateur partner Rob Hersov is so easy to play with and very good company. We met six years ago in this tournament and have been friends since.

“I am trying to concentrate just on one shot at a time and I have tried also to be patient out there – I am not going for every pin, for instance, and I am just trying to make sure that I can use my putter for the third shot.

“It will be very interesting tomorrow but I am looking forward so much to the challenge because The Old Course is my favourite place in golf.

“It was very, very windy indeed out there today and it is certainly the toughest conditions that I have ever played Carnoustie in. I am currently 125th in The Order of Merit and so this week is huge for me and my season because a good finish tomorrow would certainly make sure of my card for next season.  I will just try to keep playing the way that I have done for these three days. To shoot level par today makes me very happy because standing on my tenth tee I was thinking that two over par would be a good finish.”

Sandelin’s compatriot Carlsson produced a 73 despite a double bogey six at the 17th.

After starting at the tenth he picked up birdies at the two par fives on the back nine, the 12th and 14th, with a bogey at the 15th.

He added a par 36 on the front nine to stay firmly in contention.

Sandelin’s compatriot Carlsson produced a 73 despite a double bogey six at the 17th.

After starting at the tenth he picked up birdies at the two par fives on the back nine, the 12th and 14th, with a bogey at the 15th.

He added a par 36 on the front nine to stay firmly in contention.

Sandelin’s compatriot Carlsson produced a 73 despite a double bogey six at the 17th.

After starting at the tenth he picked up birdies at the two par fives on the back nine, the 12th and 14th, with a bogey at the 15th.

He added a par 36 on the front nine to stay firmly in contention.

Sandelin’s compatriot Carlsson produced a 73 despite a double bogey six at the 17th.

After starting at the tenth he picked up birdies at the two par fives on the back nine, the 12th and 14th, with a bogey at the 15th.

He added a par 36 on the front nine to stay firmly in contention.

The chasing group at four under contains Padraig Harrington, Thongchai Jaidee, Markus Brier and Ross Fisher.

Harrington reached the turn in a four over par 40 after bogeys at the second, third, fourth and sixth.

But he shot 34 on the way in to limit the damage to a two over 74, thanks to birdies at the 12th and 15th.

The Irishman leads The Order of Merit and his efforts left him a shot ahead of his main rivals – Lee Westwood and Robert Karlsson.

He said: “It’s obviously difficult out there. I hit a drive about 195 yards on one hole. I had three three putts in the first six holes which on a tough day the key is to get close.

“You’ve got to play sensible shots all the time. I got caught once or twice going for pins. It’s about hitting it in the right place.”

Brier – the overnight leader – shot a four over par 76 at Carnoustie to drop back to four under for the tournament.

The Austrian dropped a shot at the fourth and the par five sixth before pulling one back with a two at the 183 yard eighth.

But Brier dropped shots at the ninth and the tenth and although he picked one up at the par five 12th back to back bogeys at the 16th and 17th cost him on a day where he found only six greens in regulation.

Thailand’s Jaidee enjoyed an up and down round of 72 with five bogeys, three birdies and an eagle at the par five 14th to remain at four under.

England’s Fisher was two under for his round at one stage having posted birdies at the seventh, tenth and 11th but a double bogey at the 472 yard par four 15th damaged his card.

Meanwhile, leading the way in the team event, which runs concurrently over the week, were European Tour professional John Bickerton and his partner, South African businessman Bruce Watson, who ended their three rounds on 21 under par 195, four shots clear of three other teams.

Bickerton, whose 70 on the Old Course at St Andrews moved him into a share of seventh place overall in the individual competition, was full of praise for his partner, who only knew of his place in the field last Thursday.

“Bruce is doing really well, he’s a good player and you can tell that,” said the Englishman who is attempting his own unique Dunhill double after having claimed the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa last December.

“I think he has played off four in his time so he knows what he is doing. He is strong off the tee and he played fantastically well at Carnoustie on the first day, I think he counted at about ten holes which is some going.

“You tend not to try and focus on the team score because you don’t want to get your partner thinking about that and maybe putting him off, I want him to try and just enjoy it. But with the scoreboards everywhere, it is kind of hard to ignore the fact that we’re leading. Whether he looks at them or not I don’t know but I’ll try and keep him focussed tomorrow.”

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