ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — With inclement weather on the horizon, golfers at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship were looking for a good start on the Scottish courses that host the European Tour event.
No one did better than Romain Langesque on the most famous course.
The 27-year-old Frenchman shot 11-under 61 in the first round at St Andrews to tie the course record; A second-nine 28 including five birdies and an eagle over the final six holes. Golf house.
“I never thought I’d get the course record at St. Andrews,” said Langask, who is ranked No. 272. But now my name is on the board.
It was a career-low round for Langask — his previous best on the European Tour was 63 — which put him in good position to make a second appearance after the Welsh Open in 2020.
But tougher challenges are just around the corner.
Friday’s forecast calls for heavy rain and gusts of over 64km/h, which will be a tough test for the 168 fielders who are due to play each of St Andrews, Kingsbarn and Carnoustie over the first three days. The fourth and final round will be held in St Andrews.
At 8:30 a.m. local time on Friday, the shotgun starts to avoid the worst of the weather and 2-ranked Rory McIlroy was among those who shot himself a 4-under 68 at Carnoustie. The most difficult of the three courses.
“Generally you don’t get Carnostine in easy conditions so I feel like I dropped a few shots there,” said McIlroy, who birdied the final hole. “You don’t want to rush into what looks like really bad weather tomorrow, so at least I’ve got a red number on the board and a few shots to play with.”
McIlroy will play the second round at Kingsbarns, which he believes is the easiest of the three courses to play in good weather and the most difficult in bad weather.
Most of the good scores came at St Andrews and Kingsburn, where another Frenchman – Frédéric Lacroix – shot a bogey 10-under 62 to move into second place, one shot behind Langask, with the first round almost over.
Spain’s Nacho Elvira started at Kingsbarns and was bogey-free with a 64.
Langask led the way after a round that started on No. 10 and bogeyed his second hole of the day. After driving the green and making a 52-foot putt, he came back with an eagle on the next hole.
Langask eagled the par-5 No. 5 before closing with four straight birdies to tie the 61 made by Ross Fisher at the same event in 2017.
“The game was good,” he said with a smile, “but I didn’t seem to shoot 11.”