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Life’s good for Dunne back on the Old Course

Ireland’s Paul Dunne returned to St Andrews, the scene of one of his most unforgettable moments, to share the first round lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts.

In 2015, on the Old Course, Dunne became the first amateur since 1927 to lead the Open Championship after 54 holes.

Now he has given himself the perfect start in his attempt to win his second straight professional tournament, following his success in the British Masters last week.

After his 67, he will go out for his second round at Carnoustie in a positive frame of mind.

He said: “Life is pretty good for me at the moment. The Open was a great thing because it opened so many doors. How many times are you going to lead The Open at St Andrews with one round to go?

“It was a situation I wasn’t used to and it overwhelmed me a bit. It was one that slipped away, but I think I’m in a better place to deal with it now.”

Dunne had four birdies and an eagle at the 9th, where he drove the green and sank a 30-foot putt. His only blemish was a dropped shot at the Road Hole.

Colsaerts’ 67 at Kingsbarns proved eventful. He had a triple bogey seven at the 3rd but fought back with seven birdies, including a birdie, birdie finish.

Five players are tied one shot back: defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, Oliver Fisher, Ryan Fox and Shane Lowry, who were at St Andrews, and Joel Stalter at Kingsbarns.

Scotland’s David Drysdale leads the home challenge after a 69 at Carnoustie, while former US Open champion Graeme McDowell will be happy with his 69 at St Andrews.

Many people’s pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlory, playing with father Gerry in the Team Championship, began impressively with a birdie on the 1st hole on the Old Course, but eventually finished one-over-par.

He said: “I feel like I’ve got off to slow starts here in the past and been able to recover and get myself back into the tournament. I feel like I can do the same again.”