Paul Dunne grabs share of Alfred Dunhill Links Championship lead
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 06/10/17 9:30pm
Paul Dunne followed on from his British Masters success by grabbing a share of the early lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The Irishman, who claimed his maiden European Tour title at Close House last week, carded a five-under 67 on St Andrews' Old Course to sit top of the leaderboard alongside Nicolas Colsaerts.
Shane Lowry and defending champion Tyrrell Hatton are part of the group one off the pace, while world No 6 Rory McIlroy struggled to an opening-round 73.
"My iron play was good today," Dunne said. "Disappointing finish, but in general feeling good and life is pretty good at the minute."
Dunne birdied the third and drained a 20-footer at the sixth before driving the par-four ninth green and rolling in the eagle putt to reach the turn in 32.
A birdie-two at the 11th was followed by a two-putt gain at the 14th to extend his advantage, with Dunne's only blemish coming via a three-putt bogey from the fringe at the 17th.
Colsaerts, playing Kingsbarns, recovered from a double-bogey at the fourth to birdie four of his next five holes before picking up a shot at the 12th and closing his round with back-to-back gains.
"It could have been a lot lower but I pressed it till the end, which is nice," said the Belgian. "I kept very much composed."
Jbe Kruger briefly held a share of the lead after playing his first 11 holes in five under, only for the South African to card back-to-back double-bogeys from the 15th at Kingsbarns.
Hatton and Lowry are joined on four under by Joel Stalter, Ryan Fox and Oliver Fisher, while Ben Evans, David Drysdale and Joakim Lagergren posted matching 68s at Carnoustie.
McIlroy, making his last scheduled appearance of 2017, was three over after 13 holes at St Andrews but nudged in a five-footer at the 14th and posted a two-putt birdie at the last.
Watch the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage continues on Friday from 1pm.