There is a five way tie at the top of the leaderboard on day 1 of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. This unique event is held over three links courses in Scotland, St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.
Hugh Grant, who is playing in the Pro-Am.
Three of the top five players were on the Old Course at St. Andrews, they are Richard McEvoy, Alexandre Kaleka, and Mark Tullo. These three had opening rounds of -8 under par 64. Matching them on that -8 under 64 total were Oliver Wilson and Tom Lewis, who played the old course at Kingsbarns.
Oliver is happy to be finding some form at last;
“I’m playing a lot better, for the first time in probably over a year actually, I have some control over my shots and am able to hit the shots and trust it under pressure as well. I’m driving the ball way, way better, which is essentially the thing that had disappeared. I wasn’t able to get it in play, wasn’t able to get it on fairways and, in any wind, I was really in trouble. It was nice of Dunhill to give me an invite to this event, because it’s going to be a great test.I just have to keep playing well. Wherever I play, if I play well, it’s only a matter of time before I get to I where want to get to, so that’s the most important thing. The game is improving all the time and everything’s settled down and moving in the right direction. It’s nice because it’s been a while.”
Tom, who won the Portugal Masters in just his third Tour event, said winning early in his career has helped him,
“Winning so early helped me compete at the top-level but at the same time probably hurt me as well by expecting too much, too early. I’m learning and it’s a shame that I haven’t performed better over the last couple of years, but when I’m back at the top, I’ll be ready to be back at the top whereas before I probably wasn’t. You just want to give up half the time. It’s a good job but any job is tough, especially at the level here the guys are playing at. Obviously I’ve been through tough times and been upset a lot of the time, and it’s actually been probably the toughest two years of my life.”
Richard, who along with Tom and Oliver is in danger of losing his card, needs a win;
” Three years ago I finished well (eighth) in this event to keep my card, but at the moment I’m so far down in the back of my mind I need to win, really. But if I go out, I need to go out with a bang, so I’ve got to give it a shot, and that’s what I did today.”
Mark had Alexandre as his playing partner today, and said they had been feeding off each others good play;
” It was good, I played with Kaleka today, and we both got into a quick start, so we were feeding off each other with good shots, good birdies. I have to admit I do enjoy links golf courses. I like to use my imagination around the greens sometimes.”
“No bogeys, eight birdies, so that’s a dream round. It’s always special to play the Old Course, so I’m very pleased with that day and I hope Sunday will be, as well.”
Probably the best round of the day went to Jamie Donaldson, -7 under par 65, on the Carnoustie course, he shares sixth place with George Murray and English trio Mark Foster, Matthew Baldwin and Tommy Fleetwood, all at -7 under par.