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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 18:38 UK

Bjorn sets early pace at Dunhill

FIRST ROUND LEADERBOARD: (GB & Ire unless stated)
-8 T Bjorn (Den) -6 R McGowan, G Maybin -5 J-M Lara (Spa), R Ramsay, J Huldahl (Den), M Hoey, R Jacquelin (Fra), J Randhawa (Ind)
Selected others: -4 R McIlroy, D Clarke +1 C Montgomerie +4 R Karlsson (Swe)

Thomas Bjorn
Bjorn captained Continental Europe to defeat in the Vivendi Trophy

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn fired an eight under par 64 to claim the lead after the first round of the Dunhill Links championship in Scotland.

Bjorn, whose last win on the European Tour came in May 2006, struck six birdies and an eagle in a bogie-free round at Kingsbarns.

England's Ross McGowan and Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland are two shots behind.

The pro-am event takes place at Kingsbarns, St Andrews and Carnoustie.

Bjorn, whose Continental Europe team was hammered by Great Britain and Ireland in the Vivendi Trophy last week, struck four birdies in his first seven holes and an eagle on his 12th - the par-five third.

"It was a hard week last week - I spent a lot of time thinking and using the head - but I got inspired by it," Bjorn said.

"I started doing a little bit of stuff with (coach) Pete Cowen on Tuesday, drove the ball fantastic all day - and for the first time in a long time started rolling in a few putts.

"It's just nice to walk off and feel like for once I got what I deserved."

McGowan sunk seven birdies to card the best score at St Andrews.

A group of six players at five under included Scotsman Richie Ramsay, who struck the lowest score at Carnoustie, while Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke both shot 68 at the same course.


Defending champion Robert Karlsson of Sweden struggled to a four over par 76.

The tournament pairs professionals with amateurs and is played over three of Scotland's best-known courses.

The leading 60 professionals and the top 20 teams after three rounds make it through to the final 18 around the old course at St Andrews.

Shane Warne, Hugh Grant and Johan Cruyff were among the famous faces testing their golf skills against the very best, but their efforts were overshadowed by a fantastic display from tennis star Tim Henman and a remarkable performance from one-legged golfer Manuel de los Santos.

Playing off scratch at Carnoustie, Henman holed a 30-foot putt on the 18th for a 67, six shots better than his partner Colin Montgomerie.

De los Santos, from the Dominican Republic, teamed up with English professional Richard Bland for a six under par 66.

One-legged golfer tees off at St Andrews

The 25-year-old, who lost his left leg in a road accident six years ago, took up golf after seeing the film "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and, balancing on his right leg, plays off a three handicap.

"It was so enjoyable out there. I didn't putt very well, but Richard helped me a lot," he said.

"I was playing off two at one point, but it has gone up again. It is my ambition to become a scratch player. And why not? Everything is possible, believe me."

At six under the pair are five off the lead in the team competition.

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see also
Photos from the Dunhill Links
01 Oct 09 |  Golf
McIlroy considers US Tour switch
30 Sep 09 |  Golf
Karlsson seals Dunhill Links win
05 Oct 08 |  Golf

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