ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Paul Dunne picked up where he left off at Newcastle-upon-Tyne as he led the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with Nicolas Colsaerts after the first round on Thursday.
Four days after winning the British Masters, Dunne shot a 5-under-par 67 in the three-course event on the Old Course. Colsaerts' 67, which represented a strong recovery after a triple-bogey 7 at the third, came at Kingsbarns.
Five players were in a tie for third at 4 under, including defending champion Tyrell Hatton, his fellow Englishman Oliver Fisher and Ireland's Shane Lowry. They also began at St. Andrews.
Ten players were on 3 under, including England's Ben Evans and Scot David Drysdale, who recorded the best scores at the third course being used, Carnoustie, along with Joakim Lagergren.
Rory McIlroy, who was playing alongside his father Gerry in the pro-am, carded 73 at St. Andrews.
McIlroy was 3 over before he finished with birdies at the 14th and 18th. It might have been better had eagle putts at the ninth and 18th rolled in.
Dunne maintained the momentum which allowed the Irishman to beat McIlroy to his maiden European Tour title last week.
Returning to the Old Course, the scene of his impressive showing as an amateur in the 2015 British Open, Dunne birdied the third and sixth and holed from 22 feet for eagle at the ninth.
Further birdies followed at the 11th and 14th. There was a slip at the 17th – the notoriously difficult Road Hole – and a missed opportunity at the last.
At Kingsbarns, Colsaerts recovered from his poor third hole by claiming birdies at four of the next five holes. The Belgian added three more birdies on the back nine, including the 17th and 18th.