Thursday, 05 October 2017
Paul Dunne during his opening round at St Andrews  (Getty Images)
Paul Dunne during his opening round at St Andrews (Getty Images)

Paul Dunne continued his fine form and his love affair with St Andrews to take a share of the clubhouse lead on day one of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The Irishman came to prominence over the Old Course as an amateur in 2015 when he held the 54-hole lead at the Open Championship and made his professional breakthrough by winning the British Masters supported by Sky Sports last week.

He brought that form with him to Scotland to fire a five under 67 a the home of golf and share the lead with Belgian Nicolas Colserts, who recorded the same score down the coast at Kingsbarns.

South African Jbe Kruger was also five under with seven holes to play at Kingsbarns, a shot clear of England's Oliver Fisher and Frenchman Joël Stalter, who had completed their rounds.

Dunne birdied the third, holed an 18-footer on the sixth, and when he drove the ninth green and holed from 22 feet, he was four under and in the lead.

An excellent tee-shot set up a birdie on the par three 11th, he two-putted after hitting the par five 14th in two but fell victim the Road Hole before missing a chance for a closing gain on the next.

Colsaerts double-bogeyed the par five third but a hat-trick of birdies from the fourth saw him recover and when he also birdied the seventh he had turned in 34.

Another gain followed on the 12th before a birdie-birdie finish was completed with a 20-footer on the last.

Kruger got off to a flier, birdieing the first, second and third and when he added another on the sixth and hit a stunning approach into the 11th, he was in a share of the lead.

Fisher started on the tenth at St Andrews and turned in level par before a birdie on the first got him into red figures and three gains in his last four holes put him in contention.

Stalter made a good start with gains on the third, fourth, sixth and eighth at Kingsbarns but dropped a shot on the tenth before picking up another on the 13th.

Ben Evans made two eagles at Carnoustie to sit at three under in the clubhouse alongside fellow Englishman Matt Wallace, South African George Coetzee - who has three consecutive top 15 finishes - and 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell, German duo Bernd Ritthammer and Marcel Siem, Frenchman Grégory Bourdy, Wales' Bradley Dredge, Kiwi Ryan Fox and Swede Joakim Lagergren were then all also two of the lead during their first rounds north east of Edinburgh.

World Number Six Rory McIlroy began his bid to avoid a first winless European Tour season since 2013 with a 73 at St Andrews.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HATTON, TyrrellENG18-24
2FISHER, RossENG18-21
3DUBUISSON, VictorFRA18-17
T4WARREN, MarcSCO18-14
T4ROCK, RobertENG18-14
T4BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-14

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