Alfred Dunhill Championship: Wil Besseling leads season opener
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 28/11/19 5:41pm
Garrick Porteous made a strong start to life on the European Tour to get within a shot of the lead after the opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
The Englishman, who only secured his European Tour card last week at Qualifying School, posted a bogey-free 66 at Leopard Creek Country Club to stay in touch with early pacesetter Wil Besseling.
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Besseling holds a narrow advantage after carding a seven-under 65 in hot and humid conditions in South Africa, where players were given permission to wear shorts for the first time in a European Tour event.
"I played nicely," Besseling said. "It's a great start for the season and a great round. I had it going nicely on the par fives."
Porteous is joined on six under by South African Keith Horne and Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, while Alejandro Canizares is two strokes off the pace after a final-hole eagle lifted him to five under.
"First round of the season I don't think I'm ready to go with shorts," Larrazabal said. "It's more for pro-ams or practice rounds to chill out with friends, but as a competitive round I didn't feel like it and it worked."
Scotland's Grant Forrest briefly topped the leaderboard after playing his first 11 holes in seven under, only to triple-bogey the eighth - his penultimate hole - on his way to a opening-round 68.
Forrest is alongside England's Jack Singh Brar in the group on four under, while former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel marked his return to action from a lengthy injury lay-off with a two-under 70.
Eddie Pepperell, the highest-ranked player in the field, started his week with a one-under 71, while Dean Burmester triple-bogeyed his final hole to sit eight shots back on one over.
Watch the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 10.30am on Sky Sports Golf.