In-form Luiten leads once more

28/09/2013 12:04:00
Joost Luiten  (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten stepped out of the shadows of Peter Uihlein to boost his hopes of a third European Tour title of the season in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Saturday.

Under normal circumstances, Luiten's round of 63 at Kingsbarns - one of the three courses used for the pro-am event - would have merited more than a passing mention, particularly as it left him just one shot off the halfway lead.

But the 27 year old Dutchman's efforts were overshadowed by Uihlein's brilliant round of 60 completed under an hour later, the American narrowly missing an eagle putt on the par five ninth - his final hole - to record the first ever 59 on The European Tour.

However, Luiten could have the last laugh by claiming the €589,561 first prize on Sunday to further enhance his chances of a Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles next year, three birdies in his first six holes at St Andrews taking him to the top of the leaderboard.

Luiten birdied the first, third and sixth in perfect scoring conditions on the Old Course to move to 17 under par, two shots clear of overnight leader Tom Lewis and South African Hennie Otto.

They were both at Carnoustie, usually the hardest of the three courses, and Lewis had started his round from the tenth with four straight pars, while Otto had covered the back nine in 34 with three birdies and a bogey on the 18th.

Uihlein, who won his first European Tour title in Madeira in May, was three shots off the lead on 14 under after holing from 25 feet for a birdie on the second at St Andrews.

Luiten also birdied the seventh and ninth to be out in 31 and improve to 19 under par, but that was only good enough for a one shot lead on a course made defenceless by the lack of wind.

Uihlein had carded four birdies in a row from the fifth to reach 18 under, while Ernie Els was also five under through eight holes to improve to 15 under alongside England's David Howell.

Howell had gone to the turn in 30 thanks to four birdies and an eagle in the space of six holes.

A run of seven successive pars on the back nine was surprisingly enough to keep Luiten in the lead, with Uihlein having briefly drawn level with a birdie on the tenth before dropping shots on the 11th and 13th.

Els had moved into second place thanks to a perfectly-judged pitch and run to two feet to set up a birdie on the 14th, with Uihlein, Howell and Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez a shot further back in third.

Otto had set the clubhouse target on 16 under thanks to a 69 at Carnoustie.