In-form Dunne picks up where he left off

European Tour

British Masters champion Paul Dunne returned to the top of the leaderboard on the opening day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Fresh from his maiden victory in Newcastle, the Irishman's good form continued as he fired a five-under-par 67 at St. Andrews – one of three courses being used for this week's European Tour event.

St. Andrews is a course Dunne will forever be associated with after leading the 2015 Open Championship after 54 holes as an amateur.

"I think the Open was a great thing for me here because it opened so many doors for sponsors and invites and that kind of thing when I turned pro but, also, how many times are you going to lead the Open at St. Andrews with one round to go?" he said.

"It was a situation I wasn't used to at the time and might have overwhelmed me a bit. But I'm in a better place to deal with it now, I think. I think more good memories than bad. One that slipped away but then something that kind of set up my professional career as well."

Dunne mixed four birdies and a bogey with a superb eagle-two after driving the ninth.

"My iron play was really solid," he added. "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.

"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."

Joining him at the top was Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who shot his 67 at Kingsbarns, a birdie-birdie finish propelling him up the leaderboard.

Lying just one shot back are English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Oliver Fisher, Joel Stalter, Ryan Fox and Shane Lowry.

As many as 10 players lie two strokes back, including Graeme McDowell, Marcel Siem and George Coetzee.

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