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

Thomas Björn had his work cut out at Carnoustie today to hold onto his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship lead - especially after he double-bogeyed the 18th.

On arguably the toughest of the three courses used for the unique event in Scotland, Björn had hit back from an early bogey to be one under for the day and nine under for the tournament.

But, starting at the tenth, the six at his ninth hole of the day dropped the Dane three behind new leader José Manuel Lara.

The Spaniard was at Kingsbarns - where Bjorn opened with an eight-under 64 yesterday - to lead by two and, helped by an eagle on the 516-yard par four third, covered the first eight holes in five under.

Lara stood 10 under as a result and was one in front of Scot Richie Ramsay and two clear of a group of five, Ramsay's compatriot Alastair Forsyth, English duo Simon Dyson and Kenneth Ferrie and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Michael Hoey.

Most eye-catching there was 20-year-old McIlroy, who will go top of The Race To Dubai standings on Sunday by finishing first or second.

He was at St Andrews and, partnering his father Gerry, birdied the third, eagled the 568-yard fifth and picked up a two on the short eighth.

Ferrie and Hoey were both at Carnoustie and were five under and three under for the day respectively. Forsyth was six under for his round at Kingsbarns with eight holes left while Ramsay and Dyson were at St Andrews.

Ramsay came into the event only when Paul Casey pulled out injured with a rib injury late last week and, starting at the tenth, had a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th and then another on the last to turn in 32.

Dyson was playing The Home of Golf the conventional way round and birdied the fifth, ninth, 11th and 12th.

Going best of all on the day, however, was Luke Donald, seven under for the first 12 at St Andrews after starting the day down the field on level par.

That brought Donald into a tie for eighth alongside not only Bjorn, but also compatriots Oliver Wilson, Ross McGowan and Graeme Storm and Ireland's Paul McGinley.

Because of the format the cut does not come until after tomorrow's third round, with the top 60 professionals and top 20 teams going through to the final round at St Andrews.

Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh was joint leader of the team event.

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