St. Andrews, Scotland – Branden Grace fired a course-record 12-under-par 60 at Kingsbarns on Thursday to lead after one round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Grace, a three-time winner on the European Tour this season, eagled the par- five 16th, his seventh, before turning it on down the stretch. The 24-year-old closed with five consecutive birdies to surpass Lee Westwood's previous course record of 62.
In all, Grace recorded 10 birdies during his bogey-free round, which also tied the European Tour record -- 13 other players have shot 60 on the tour.
Victor Dubuisson finished with a 10-under 62 on the Old Course at St. Andrews to grab second place. The Frenchman reeled off three straight birdies to get to 11-under with three holes left, but closed with a bogey and a pair of pars.
On Friday, Dubuisson moves to Carnoustie Golf Club -- considered the most difficult of the three courses in play during the event.
Thorbjorn Olesen took third on Thursday with a 9-under 63 at St. Andrews while Alexander Noren, Fredrik Andersson Hed and Ashley Hall each shot 8-under 64 at the Old Course to tie for fourth.
The best showings at Carnoustie came from Oliver Wilson and Gregory Havret, who both fired a 5-under 67 to finish tied for 19th with nine others.
Martin Kaymer, Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie -- three members of the European Ryder Cup team, which recently pulled off a historic comeback over the U.S. -- were all victimized by Carnoustie.
Kaymer, who holed the clinching putt to defeat Steve Stricker and give Europe the Ryder Cup, finished with a 70 on Thursday, while Hanson shot 72 and Lawrie struggled to a 75.
Grace, who won in his native South Africa last week, started his round on the 10th at Kingsbarns and flew out of the gate with three birdies in the first four holes. He parred the next two holes before his eagle moved him to minus-5.
The South African birdied the first and third to keep moving up the leaderboard. Grace flew into the lead as he birdied each of his final five holes.
"I never really made anything long. It was all 12-to-15 footers and it's nice just to have a bogey-free round on a links (course)," Grace stated. ""We were lucky with the weather, but you still have to get it in the right spots and get it around."
NOTES: Defending champion Michael Hoey managed a 1-under 71 at Carnoustie and he is tied for 76th...Three of Europe's assistant Ryder Cup captains - Darren Clarke (75), Miguel Angel Jimenez (73) and Paul McGinley (76) - struggled, while the fourth, Thomas Bjorn (68) is tied for 30th.