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Charl Schwartzel and Paul Dunne lead the way in Malelane

Published 01/12/2016

Charl Schwartzel posted a superb 66 on Thursday
Charl Schwartzel posted a superb 66 on Thursday

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel and Irishman Paul Dunne led the way after the opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Schwartzel notched a birdie at the last to post a flawless opening-round 66 and join Dunne, who carded eight birdies and a double bogey at Leopard Creek Country Club on Thursday, on six under par.

The duo sit one shot clear of a large chasing pack which includes Englishman Max Orrin and Scotland's Scott Jamieson as well as home favourites Jean Hugo and Brandon Stone.

After carding a single birdie in his opening nine holes, Schwartzel made back-to-back gains at the 10th and 11th before taking advantage of the three par-fives on the back nine - the 13th, 15th and 18th - to take a share of the lead.

After his round, Schwartzel told europeantour.com: "On the front nine, I was just really grinding hard to make pars, and when I did find some good shots, I capitalised by making birdies, which was nice.

Meanwhile, an early birdie blitz saw Dunne pick up four shots in his first eight holes, only for a double bogey at the ninth to halt his progress.

But the 24-year-old bounced back in style, notching birdies at the 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th to get to six under.

Dunne said: "For me I feel if I can get the ball in play off the tee, with how my irons are feeling and with how good the greens are, I feel if I drive the ball well I'll give myself loads of chances."

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