Donaldson and Noren share early lead

9/26/2013 11:49:00 AM
Jamie Donaldson  (Getty Images)
Jamie Donaldson (Getty Images)
Jamie Donaldson celebrated being named in Great Britain & Ireland's Seve Trophy by Golf+ team by making an excellent start to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Donaldson, who will make his second appearance in the biennial contest against Europe in France next week, was making the most of good conditions at Carnoustie, traditionally the toughest of the three courses used for the pro-am event.

A hat-trick of birdies from the second took the Welshman - whose celebrity playing partner is five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave - to three under par and a share of the early lead with Sweden's Alex Noren, who had birdied three of his first five holes at St Andrews.

Former Open Champion Darren Clarke was also going well at Carnoustie with birdies at the fourth and fifth, while fellow Major winners Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel were alongside the Northern Irishman on two under.

Kingsbarns has usually produced the lowest scores in the event - Branden Grace shot a first round of 60 there last year on his way to victory – and Eddie Pepperell turned in a four under par 32 to be best placed there.

Grace was lucky to see his tee shot on the third at Carnoustie pull up short of a deep fairway bunker, but hit his approach over the green and did well to two-putt from a swale to card his third straight par.

Donaldson picked up his fourth birdie of the day at the sixth and made the turn in 32, but that was now one off the lead held by three players at St Andrews.

Noren had covered the front nine in 31 and was joined on five under by Chile's Mark Tullo and France's Alexandre Kaleka, who had covered the back nine in the same number of shots.

Further birdies at the tenth and 11th took Donaldson to six under, but he still could not catch the leaders with Tullo and Kaleka moving to seven under on the Old Course.

Playing in the same group, Tullo had birdied the first and second and Kaleka the first and fourth to lead by one from Donaldson and English duo Pepperell and Richard Finch, who were at St Andrews and Kingsbarns respectively.