Matt Wallace birdied the last hole at The Home of Golf to share the first round lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with Marcus Fraser.
Wallace, playing his first round of the unique pro-am tournament on the Old Course at St Andrews, birdied four of his last five holes on the front nine, and then made two further gains on the back nine, including a birdie on the 18th to join Fraser on four under par. Already a three-time winner this season, Wallace is bidding for his fourth title in the space of just seventh months.
Just two golfers broke par at Carnoustie, with Fraser birdieing two of his final three holes to sign for a score of 68. Austria’s Matthis Schwab signed for a three under par round of 69 to share third place.
At Kingsbarns, Irishmen Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley rolled back the years as they joined Schwab on three under par. Jinho Choi, also at Kingsbarns, and Phachara Kongwatmai, playing at St Andrews, make up the top three.
Twice-defending champion Tyrrell Hatton and his Ryder Cup opponent Brooks Koepka share eighth place with five other golfers on two under par. Hatton hopes to become the first person to win an event three times in a row since Tiger Woods defended the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for a second time in 2007.
Marcus Fraser: “I’m over the moon. I just sort of stuck it out most of the day and waited for the putts to drop and at the end I made a couple of good par saves. A nice long one at the end from about 30 feet. It’s brutal out there. Doesn’t really matter if it’s into the wind or downwind, and then you get the cross-breeze off 8 and 9. That’s as strong as I’ve played the golf course I think.”
Padraig Harrington: “A couple of missed opportunities, so it was awkward like that. I certainly prefer to play this golf course in a crosswind. I find this is very playable in a cross-wind and I was definitely, with the forecast, we knew Thursday was going to be a bad day, so when it came out that I was on Kingsbarns, I was very happy about that. It is a very playable course in bad conditions.”
Tyrrell Hatton: “It was a tough day, tough conditions out here. So it was always going to be tough for scoring. Feel like I actually played okay. Hit a few poor shots, which is easy to do today, but happy with how I played my last nine holes. Gave myself plenty of opportunities, and it was nice to hole a couple and yeah, just happy to get under par, really, after the front nine.”
Brooks Koepka: “The wind is blowing. I’m pleased with my round. Hung in there. Felt like I made a few mistakes but that happens, and just got to move on from it. This wind, you hit one bad shot it’s exaggerated and you wind up with double really quick. Keep the ball on the ground and control your misses, I did a good job of that today”