Thursday, 05 October 2017
Day One Highlights - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Paul Dunne picked up where he left off south of the border to share the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The Irishman claimed his maiden European Tour title in England last week at the British Masters supported by Sky Sports and brought that form to Scotland as he carded an opening five under par 67 on the Old Course at St Andrews.

Colsaerts was not to be outdone down the coast at Kingsbarns, however, and the big-hitting Belgian finished birdie-birdie to card a 67 of his own and share top spot heading into round two.

Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, fellow Englishman Oliver Fisher, New Zealander Ryan Fox and Ireland's Shane Lowry carded rounds of 68 at the home of golf to sit a shot off the lead alongside Frenchman Joël Stalter, who was also four under par at Kingsbarns.

Dunne will forever be associated with St Andrews after leading the 2015 Open Championship after 54 holes as an amateur and he admits that experience helped him towards that first professional win last week.

"I think the Open was a great thing for me here because it opened so many doors for sponsors and invites and that kind of thing when I turned pro but, also, how many times are you going to lead the Open at St. Andrews with one round to go?" he said.

"It was a situation I wasn't used to at the time and might have overwhelmed me a bit. But I'm in a better place to deal with it now, I think. I think more good memories than bad. One that slipped away but then something that kind of set up my professional career as well."

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 victom the Road Hole before missing a chance for a closing gain on the next.

"My iron play was really solid," he added. "I was hitting everything pin-high on the front nine which is a big advantage because the greens are so big. You're probably not going to miss many but when it gets windy, two-putting from 60 feet can be difficult.

"I didn't play great coming in. I kind of did the opposite of what I should have done but I'll take the five under."

Miracle of Medinah star 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.

"I kept very composed," he said. "I pressed it until the end, which is nice. Birdied 17 which is not really a birdie hole. I hit it really close and finished it off with the longest putt of the day on 18, which is nice."

Fisher started on the tenth 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 but dropped a shot on the tenth before picking up another on the 13th.

Hatton birdied the first, ninth and tenth then bogeyed the 11th but bounced back with gains on the 12th and 15th before bogeying the Road Hole and taking advantage of the short last.

Lowry went out in the last group of the day and birdied the first and eighth before bogeying the 11th and hitting back with gains on the 12th, 14th and last.

Fox birdied the first and fourth and while he dropped a shot on the sixth, further gains followed on the 11th, 14th and last.

That helped Fox and Australian cricket great Shane Warne share the team lead at 11 under alongside Aron Price and Ross Desmond, and Thomas Detry and Rob Louw.

English duo Ben Evans and Matt Wallace, French pair Benjamin Hebert and Romain Langasque, South African George Coetzee, Scot David Drysdale, Swede Joakim Lagergren, 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell, German Marcel Siem and South Korean Jeughun Wang were all at three under.

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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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