Quartet sets pace at pleasant Dunhill Links
Smashing scores could be seen in the first round of Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where quartet of players put 66 strokes, 6 under par, in the European Tour event played on three Scottish courses in Pro-Am format.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain and Louis Oosthuizen, South African winner of British Open 2010, set pace at Kingsbarns, probably easiest of tournament courses, while Markus Brier of Austria and Michael Hoey from Northern Ireland both signed for respectable 66 at St. Andrews´ Old Course. Hoey even made eagle 2 on 18th hole, but didn´t avoid some mistakes, too, as all the leaders.
Oosthuizen wasn´t able to return to winning scene of St. Andrews and play the tournament last year because of torn ligaments in his left ankle in a hunting accident.
"I couldn't watch this event last year on TV, I was too upset I wasn't there," Oosthuizen said.
Scotland´s Mark Warren made best score from Carnoustie, 67 strokes, 5 under par. He is tied for fifth place among five other players, including Graeme McDowell (Kingsbarns). McDowell, winner of the U.S. Open 2010, approached his former coach Clive Tucker in a seach for clues after series of disappointments.
Defending champion Martin Kaymer, playing with his father, opened with 68 at Kingsbarns. Tied on same score at eleventh place are also Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie or Peter Hanson (all Kingsbarns).
Young Englishman Tom Lewis, playing just a second tournament as a pro, coming from Sundays´ top ten result in Austria, signed for 68 despite double bogey seven on last hole at Kingsbarns. The 20 year old has six more events this season to earn around €200,000 he will need to secure full playing rights in 2012.
World Number One Luke Donald made 69, same result as Charl Schwartzel. Rory McIlroy was on plus 3 after eight holes, but needed just 31 strokes on second nine and 70 altogether at Kingsbarns as well.
American John Daly signed for 71, same as his fellow countrymen Dustin Johnson and J. J. Henry. Ernie Els´ 72 strokes were just right for tied 75rd place among 168 players.
Blue sky and light part-time wind made great conditions for the start of the tournament. There will be cut after third round, with the final played at St. Andrews.Written by Cenek Lorenc
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