Grace equals Tour record at Dunhill Links04/10/2012 - 17:35:13
South African Branden Grace today equalled the European Tour record with a round of 60 at Kingsbarns in the first round of the Dunhill Links Championship.
Already with three European Tour titles to his name this season, the 24-year-old knocked two strokes off Lee Westwood’s course record thanks to an eagle and 10 birdies – five of them in a row to finish with.
Fourteen players have now shot 60 on the circuit – Darren Clarke has done it twice – and like so many of the others Grace came off saying: “It could have been a 59”.
The Pretoria golfer leads Victor Dubuisson by two, the Frenchman’s 62 at St Andrews today also being a course record, while many of the big guns were left trailing in his wake after they battled with the far tougher Carnoustie.
The three Ryder Cup heroes in the field – Paul Lawrie, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson – returned 75, 70 and 72 respectively, with Lawrie commenting on his return to the course where he won the 1999 Open: “I was a little bit tired obviously, but the first 12 holes were my worst ball-striking of the year.”
Current Open champion Ernie Els had to play the last eight in three under just for a 73, while Paul McGinley, favourite to take over from Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe’s captain, struggled to a 76 and is down near the rear of the 168-strong field.
Highlight of the Irishman’s day, in fact, was partnering Olympic and Paralympic runner Oscar Pretorius in the celebrity pro-am.
“It was a real honour to be in his company,” he said.
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