Several Ryder Cup stars were in contention as they returned to European Tour action at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but Marcus Fraser and Matt Wallace led the way after the opening round.
Four of the 24 men in action at Le Golf National last weekend returned to the Tour, with Europe hero Tommy Fleetwood among those to challenge on Thursday.
However, it was Wallace, one of the men to just miss out on Thomas Bjorn’s team, who kept pace with Australian Fraser to card a four-under 68, the lowest score of the round at the St Andrews course.
Fraser – playing Carnoustie – made five birdies and a sole bogey, which had looked to be enough for the outright overnight lead until Wallace, among the last players to finish, shot a birdie at the 18th.
Padraig Harrington, tipped by many to be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain, was one of five players a shot back in a tie for third, with Brooks Koepka and double defending champion Tyrrell Hatton at two under.
After 18 holes:
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Fleetwood recovered from a tough start to stand at one under, but Tony Finau could only manage a one-over 73.
There was a horrible moment for Hatton as his tee shot at the 15th struck a spectator in the head, although she was pictured smiling and hugging the Englishman after receiving treatment.
A similar incident at last week’s Ryder Cup had seen a women suffer a serious eye injury having been hit by Koepka’s ball.