Dunne shares Alfred Dunhill Links lead; seeking second successive win
Paul Dunne of Ireland tees off on the 14th  during day one of the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship at The Old Course on October 5, 2017 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty 

Paul Dunne of Ireland tees off on the 14th  during day one of the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship at The Old Course on October 5, 2017 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty 

Paul Dunne is gunning for his second successive win but has Shane Lowry breathing down his neck following an opening 67 on the Old Course at St Andrews gave him a share of the lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The new world No 88 and Ryder Cup points leader followed up his maiden European Tour victory last week with an impressive five-under-par opening round to share top spot with Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.

Dunne made his professional breakthrough last week at the British Masters supported by Sky Sports after chipping in at the last to clinch a three-shot win over four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy.

But it was at the Home of Golf, St Andrews, where Dunne first put himself in the spotlight, having shared the lead heading into the final day of The 2015 Open Championship.

He put that experience to good use on day one at the unique pro-am tournament as the 24 year old carded four birdies and an eagle two at the ninth hole on the way to a five under round.

Lowry shot a 68 to share third with Graeme McDowell (69) tied eighth on the Old Course with Gavin Moynihan’s two-under 70 at Kingsbarns leaving him tied 18th.

Pádraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy were both at the Old Course, but the Dubliner shot 72 to share 67th with McIlroy back in 89th after a 73.

Dunne was happy to be leading but disappointed,  having raced to six-under with four to play, not to do better on the downwind holes coming home.

“My game still feels good,” Dunne said. "Yeah, it takes that little bit of pressure off when you've done it once. My iron play was good today. Disappointing finish, but in general feeling good and life is pretty good at the minute.

"I was hitting everything pin-high on the front nine, which is a big advantage because the greens are so big. You're probably not going to miss many. But when it gets windy, two-putting from 60 feet can be difficult.

"But then I eagled the ninth, which is downwind and drivable. I drove it to around 30 feet and holed it, so that kind of got me off on the right foot starting the back nine. And I didn't play great coming in. I kind of did the opposite of what I should have done but I’ll take the five-under."

Colsaerts holed a 15 footer at the last to share the lead and said: “I kept very much composed. It could have been a lot lower, but I pressed it till the end, which is nice. I birdied 17 which is not really a birdie hole. I hit it really close and finished it off with the longest putt of the day on 18, which is nice.

"It's not easy. It blows quite a bit when you have shots into and coming off the left. They have changed a few pins, as well, which I think must be the reason. 

"We always play this course with certain pins and all of a sudden you get different ones, so you kind of have to play the golf course a little different than what you're used to. That’s the only explanation I can find for the higher scoring."

Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, one of five players tied for third with Lowry, was happy with his 68. 

“I thought it was a pretty tough day out there to be honest,” said world No 29 Hatton. 

"Obviously the front nine was in the worst wind that you can ask for, into off the left, and you get the benefit when you make the turn on 12 back to the clubhouse, and then you come in.

"Overall, I'm pretty happy. I felt like I left a couple of shots out there but it's not easy out in those conditions. I think four-under is a good score today.”

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns

Detailed scores

67 Paul Dunne (Irl), N Colsaerts (Bel), 

68 Shane Lowry (Irl), T Hatton (Eng), R Fox (Nzl), J Stalter (Fra), O Fisher (Eng),

69 J Wang (Kor), B Evans (Eng), R Langasque (Fra), D Drysdale (Sco), B Hebert (Fra), M Wallace (Eng), J Lagergren (Swe), M Siem (Ger), Graeme McDowell (Nir), G Coetzee (RSA), 

70 J Donaldson (Wal), N Bertasio (Ita), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), L Cianchetti (Ita), B Grace (RSA), B Ritthammer (Ger), J Smith (Eng), G Bourdy (Fra), A Rai (Eng), A Price (Aus), S Jamieson (Sco), R Gibson (Aus), L Donald (Eng), T Fleetwood (Eng), A Levy (Fra), J Luiten (Ned), O Bekker (RSA), R Wattel (Fra), M Warren (Sco), G Havret (Fra), B Dredge (Wal), K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , D Frittelli, (RSA)

71 J Fahrbring (Swe), J Kruger (RSA), L Westwood (Eng), J Davidson (Wal), J Ahlers (RSA), R Jacquelin (Fra), C Pigem (Esp), A Quiros (Esp), L Jensen (Den), S Brazel (Aus), J Morrison (Eng), R Fisher (Eng), M Armitage (Eng), M Kaymer (Ger), P Hanson (Swe), R Gouveia (Por), A Chesters (Eng), B Stone (RSA), R Ramsay (Sco), J Quesne (Fra), Z Lombard (RSA), T Detry (Bel), N Elvira (Esp), R Rock (Eng), P Lawrie (Sco), S Gregory (Eng), 

72 J Scrivener (Aus), S Lee (Kor), S Heisele (Ger), Y Chang (Kor), S Gallacher (Sco), G Stal (Fra), A Björk (Swe), J Suri (USA), S Manley (Wal), S Chawrasia (Ind), P Angles (Esp), L Johnston (Sco), E Pepperell (Eng), L Canter (Eng), C Kresge (USA), D Howell (Eng), Pádraig Harrington (Irl), D Brooks (Eng), R Sterne (RSA), C Syme (Sco), M Pavon (Fra), D Perrier (Fra), 

73 A Michael (RSA), N Fasth (Swe), J Campillo (Esp), A Dodt (Aus), B Quigley (USA), T Olesen (Den), C Bezuidenhout (RSA), T Bjørn (Den), M Kieffer (Ger), J Holmes (USA), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), S Hend (Aus) , T Aiken (RSA) , L Slattery (Eng) , A Wall (Eng) , M Giles (Aus) , E Molinari (Ita) , U Van Den Berg (RSA) , B Rumford (Aus) , A Plant (Eng) , A Knappe, (Ger), P Waring (Eng), A Otaegui (Esp), J Kruyswijk (RSA), Rory McIlroy (Nir), R Bland (Eng),

74 C Paisley (Eng), B An (Kor), H Porteous (RSA), M Carlsson (Swe), A Hansen (Den), T Jaidee (Tha), C Hanson (Eng), F Zanotti (Par), F Aguilar (Chi), M Ilonen (Fin), M Manassero (Ita), J Lima (Por), J Walters (RSA), A Evans (Aus), P Khongwatmai (Tha), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), V Dubuisson (Fra), E De La Riva (Esp), M Fraser (Aus), W Ormsby (Aus), E Els (RSA), D Fichardt (RSA),

75 D Horsey (Eng), R Karlberg (Swe), S Leaney (Aus), G Storm (Eng), A Cañizares (Esp), A Hall (Aus), G Forrest (Sco), S Walker (Eng), P Peterson (USA), N Holman (Aus), P Tangkamolprasert (Tha), R Karlsson (Swe),

76 L Bjerregaard (Den), P Newcomb (USA), D Im (USA), N Kimsey (Eng), S Gros (Fra), C Shinkwin (Eng), P Larrazábal (Esp),

77 R Paratore (Ita), D Burmester (RSA), T Lewis (Eng),

78 S Appleby (Aus), M Southgate (Eng), J Carlsson (Swe), W Ashun (Chn),

79 F Fritsch (Ger), J Singh Brar (Eng),

80 T Sinnott (Aus),

81 A Connelly (Can),

82 S Dyson (Eng), D Stewart (Sco).