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Roussel and Meronk lead the way at Leopard Creek

Roussel and Meronk lead the way at Leopard Creek

A brilliant birdie burst on the back nine handed Robin Roussel a share of the early clubhouse lead on day one of the 2020 Alfred Dunhill Championship.


After reaching the turn in 34, Frenchman Roussel reeled off five consecutive gains from the tenth before closing his round with another birdie to sign for an opening 65.

He was joined at the summit on seven under par by Poland's Adrian Meronk, who fired two eagles, four birdies and a single bogey at Leopard Creek Country Club on Thursday.

Englishman Richard Bland, who started at the tenth tee, was the co-leaders' nearest challenger on five under after following up a front nine that contained six birdies with a birdie and two bogeys on his back nine.

Roussel got off to a mixed start early in the morning, carding three birdies and two bogeys on his front nine.

But he caught fire after the turn, notching birdies at the tenth, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th to jump to six under.

His delightful approach into the long 18th landed around three feet from the cup and he rolled in his birdie putt to complete a superb opening 65.

European Challenge Tour graduate Roussel was grateful to his caddie Army Nathi Mdluli - a local who knows all about Leopard Creek's greens - for the role he played in his remarkable birdie run.

"I started the round pretty well so that put me a little bit in confidence," he said.

"I had a bunch of good birdies and good putts especially. I'm lucky to have Army on the bag, who is a local so he gets to read the greens pretty well.

"And he helped a lot. I had quality putts on the tenth, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th. I think without him I wouldn't have been able to put all these in.

"But yeah, good drives, good iron shots and good putts so I'm quite happy."


Meronk, starting from the tenth, made a birdie on his first hole but gave the shot back at the 12th.

He recovered with another birdie on the 13th before finishing his front nine with an eagle at the long 18th.

After making back to back birdies at the second and third, Meronk saved par from eight feet on the fourth to remain at five under.

The 27-year-old then notched his second eagle of the day on the par four sixth before producing a sensational up-and-down from the bunker behind the ninth green for par to head into the clubhouse in a tie for the lead.

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