Haig rises to the summit

10/4/2012 10:54:11 AM
 Anton Haig   (Getty Images)
Anton Haig (Getty Images)
South Africa's Anton Haig was the early leader at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland,11 months after it was announced he had retired from professional golf.

Haig, told that back injuries would prevent him continuing with his career, made a return in March, but has managed only three more Official World Golf Ranking events since then.

At Kingsbarns, however, the 26 year old former Johnnie Walker Classic winner birdied the first two holes, eagled the third and then added another birdie on the fifth.

At five under par Haig led by a stroke from England's Oliver Fisher, who at St Andrews had four birdies in a row from the second.

Most of the star names were competing at Carnoustie, the third of the courses used for the celebrity pro-am tournament.

Going best there was former Ryder Cup player Thomas Levet, who, starting on the inward half, eagled the 12th and birdied the 14th to be third on his own at three under.

German Martin Kaymer, who sank the putt in Chicago on Sunday that kept The Ryder Cup in Europe's hands, opened with two pars, but team-mate Peter Hanson double-bogeyed the 327 yard third.

Scot Paul Lawrie was the other member of José María Olazábal's side in the event. He had 17 year old son Craig, a scratch handicapper, as his partner.

American Dustin Johnson, who won all his three games at Medinah, was also in the field.

By adding further birdies on the seventh and ninth in glorious sunshine Haig turned in a seven under 29 and led compatriot Branden Grace by two.

Lawrie and Kaymer parred the first four holes, while Hanson remained two over after six and was alongside Colin Montgomerie, who partnering Sir Steve Redgrave bogeyed the second and third.

Haig had his first bogey at the 12th and lost top spot to Fisher, who crammed eight birdies and a bogey into his first 12 holes over the Old Course.

The youngest player ever to appear in the Walker Cup when he won a cap aged just 16 in 2005, Fisher captured his first European Tour title in the Czech Open last year but is down at 125th place on this season's Race to Dubai.

His amateur partner was recently retired England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, a member at Sunningdale.

Ryder Cup vice-captain Thomas Björn matched Fisher's front-nine 31 to be part of a group on five under which also contained Welshman Bradley Dredge and Scot Peter Whiteford.

Kaymer was one under, Lawrie one over and Hanson two over.