European Tour

Walters takes Alfred Dunhill lead as McIlroy has dad day

Justin Walters (Getty Images)
Justin Walters (Getty Images)

London - South Africa's Justin Walters holds a slender lead after the opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but the English trio of Matt Southgate, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton could hold the upper hand after shooting low scores at Carnoustie.


Walters carded a nine-under-par 63 on the Old Course at St Andrews to lead by one from Jordan Smith, Adrian Otaegui, Ryan Fox and Victor Perez.

However, Southgate was just a shot further back after a bogey-free 65 at Carnoustie, traditionally the toughest of the three courses used for the pro-am event, with Fleetwood and two-time champion Hatton both shooting 66 at last year's Open Championship venue.

"I'd love to have this event on my C.V. I've always enjoyed it and played well," said Fleetwood, who has twice finished runner-up in this event, including last year.

"There's something about playing at St. Andrews. I don't know what it is, but you walk in, and there's pictures of everybody that's won it and I've always thought I'd like to be one of them.

"It's a long way to go, but I've done all right in the past and hopefully on Sunday I have another chance."

World number two Rory McIlroy, who is playing with his father Gerry in the team event, had to settle for a 70 at Carnoustie after hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the sixth, his 15th hole of the day.

"As all dads do sometimes he can start to get on my nerves a bit out there, but for the most part it's been brilliant," said McIlroy.

Lee Westwood was a shot ahead of McIlroy on three under thanks largely to a hole-in-one on the eighth at Carnoustie, his 17th hole of the day.

"I got on the eighth and it was 189 yards and all of a sudden the wind just dropped," said Westwood.

"I thought I'd better hit a six iron and it came off lovely.

"It landed perfect on the green and ran out and just caught the right edge. Eliminated the putting on that one."

In the team event, Fox's eight-under par round saw he and Australian cricket legend Shane Warne take a share of the lead on 12-under.

"To watch Foxy shoot 64 was unbelievable. He had five birdies on the back nine. I just stand back and applaud," said Warne after their round at St Andrews.

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